The Moroni Deception by Jack L. Brody


“The DaVinci Code Meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

I asked the question I always want to know, "What inspired you to write the book?" This is what Jack told me:

 There were two things--first, and to a lesser extent, it was an economic decision.  I'd written screenplays for a number of years, and had made several half-hearted attempts at a novel, but I'd always found it so much harder than writing a screenplay (probably because I was more of a movie guy, and I'd seen so many that the film formula was practically imbedded in my DNA), so with the couple tries I made, I had tended to give up pretty easily.  

And speaking of the screenplays,  I came very close to producing my second one--an offbeat romantic comedy, and I had commitments from an up and coming director, a name actress, along with several companies that were willing to finance half the film.  The problem I kept running into, however, was that by the time I found a company to come up with the second half, the first one, each time, had gone belly up.  After several years of this (and probably getting jerked around more than I realized at the time), I decided to just concentrate on my writing, and produced 5--okay 4, pretty good screenplays. 

The thing I kept seeming to run into with my screenplays, however, was the old Catch-22-- that to sell a screenplay you have to have an agent, and to get an agent you have to have sold a screenplay.  I won't go into a lot of details, but in my attempt to navigate around this agent obstacle, I sent my very best screenplay directly to two different director/producers.  Both wound up "borrowing" very large and significant portions of this screenplay (although it's not yet been proven in court, since it's so hard to find an attorney that will take these cases since they're so hard to win), and they went on to make two different movies about 10 years apart. 

The good part, I guess, was I got to see quite a bit of my work up on the big screen. The bad part was, of course, I never saw the first dime.  The second film even went on to take in over $100 million, which was sadly ironic, because I had always jokingly referred to that script as my "$100 million dollar screenplay."  Those repeated episodes really kind of took the wind out of my sails and soured me on the film industry (or at least the seamy underbelly part of it), and so I thought, "Maybe the next time I need to try to write a novel," believing that it would possibly be easier to find an agent who could then also represent my remaining unsold screenplays.   

 My true inspiration, however, and what sparked the initial idea for the novel (although the story has almost completely changed from the way it started out) was after reading  Jon Krakauer's "Under The Banner of Heaven."  It's really great, if you haven't read it, and I think I even read that Ron Howard was going to direct the movie based upon the actual events.  From reading it, I got a brief education about the history and founding of the LDS Church-- although I should point out that most of the modern day stuff his book also dealt with, largely had to do with one of the LDS's rather extreme polygamous offshoots--more the "Warren Jeffs" branch of the Mormon family tree if you will.   

When I saw how much potential there was for weaving in some of the more interesting elements as part of a novel, I did about a year and half's worth of research in my free time before I ever wrote the first word (of course, I was taking tons of notes and printing off reams of internet research).  I  also should mention, I actually started this whole process over 5 and a half years ago--well before Mr. Romney made his run for the Presidency, which I thought I would bring up because I've been questioned several times about the timing of the release. 

The other thing that I have to 'fess up to is what lead me to having an interest in reading Krakauer's book--an episode of a little known show called "South Park."   Like a lot of people, I had never really given the religion that much thought and had always just kind of thought of it as one of the lesser know Protestant denominations, but the episode, "All About Mormons," actually did spark my initial interest in examining the religion much closer.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing that people know that this novel probably never would have come about had it not been for a South Park episode.  And of course the other ironic thing is that the South Park creators then went on to write and produce the Tony award winning Book of Mormon.

About the book: Michael Chenault, award-winning investigative journalist with the New York Times, is rousted in the middle of the night by NYPD detectives and accused of the bizarre murder of a complete stranger. After clearing himself, Chenault finds that Martin Koplanski, the retired history professor he'd been accused of murdering, was likely killed for a mysterious Mormon relic long thought to be just a myth.

Twenty-four hours later, Chenault receives an email with a photo of the recently murdered wife of Presidential candidate, Brockston Ratchford. She too appears to have been ritually killed in the exact manner as Koplanski, right down to having the same cryptic character scrawled in blood across her forehead. With way more than just a hunch to now go on, Chenault heads out to Salt Lake City, the site of the Ratchford murder investigation, to find out what, if any, connection there is between the murders.

With the help of a beautiful young reporter he meets along the way, Chenault comes to learn the dark family secrets of a rising political star, along with the rather strange but true history of the Mormon church. As he pieces the story together of what appears to be an ever-growing conspiracy, Chenault is pursued by The Brothers, two murderous zealots who will stop at nothing to retrieve the Mormon relic Chenault is also trying to find. What Chenault eventually discovers is that what he's uncovered may not only affect the outcome of the next Presidential election, but decide the fate of an entire religion--if he can manage to stay alive.

In the tradition of Raymond Khoury, Brad Meltzer, Dan Brown and Steve Berry, The Moroni Deception is a cleverly conceived, twisting tale of deceit, and political and religious intrigue by a new master of the conspiracy thriller.

Read the first chapters:

About the author:
Jack Brody is a writer, ex-military, and an avid traveler. After his Army stint and then deciding to pass on law school, he went to film school, wrote screenplays, and held a number of jobs which ran from everything to working for a newspaper for one day, to film production, to then going into real estate (with at least five others along the way).  He's fascinated by history, politics, and architecture, all of which play a part in his novels (yes, he already has two more in the works). When not writing, he can often be found hiking with his two faithful dogs, occasionally breaking out the old BMW bike for a ride though the mountains, or playing volleyball or bar trivia with his friends.  He divides his time between his home in the Southern Appalachians and wherever his passport will take him. After reading Jon Krakauer's bestselling "Under the Banner of Heaven," he was inspired to undertake a full year of research in preparation for the novel. Taking what he'd learned, along with a bit of imagination, the result was the conspiracy thriller, The Moroni Deception.



fiction-books said…
Hi Marilyn,

If this great sounding book is already being compared to the work of Brad Meltzer, then it's a definite for my reading list.

It has obviously been a labour of love for its author Jack Brody, given the amount of research time he has invested in its pre-publication and he deserves every success with his venture.

Mayra Calvani said…
Thanks for helping spread the word, Marilyn!


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