Back in Print: "The Tenth Virgin" and "The Zarahemla Vision" by Gary Stewart

Brash Books has released both of Gary Stewart’s Gabe Utley private eye novels – The Tenth Virgin (1983) and The Zarahemla Vision (1986) – in trade paperback and in ebook format for Amazon Kindle. The books are set in Salt Lake City, Utah in the mid-1980s. A time when the Mormon Church’s influence on local politics and culture went unchallenged. That influence has lessened in the decades since (although it is still very much alive) as the city’s non-Mormon population has grown, but Stewart brings those heady, sometimes charming, and, at times, violent days of the ‘80s to vivid life. 
      The books really are a time capsule of what Mormon culture and Salt Lake City were more than 30 years ago and while the plots revolve around polygamy (The Tenth Virgin), racism, Church politics, and corporate greed (The Zarahemla Vision) there is not a trace of anti-Mormon sentiment. Instead, Stewart conjures a realistic vision of how things really were. The beautiful and ugly alike. Not to mention, both are extraordinarily entertaining.
s especially exciting because the essay, Polygamists, Outlaws & Mormons: The Crime and Western Tales of Gary Stewart”, published here at Dark City Underground played a part in getting these two classic mystery novels back in print. A first for me and for Dark City Underground, too.

The Tenth Virgin

from the back cover…

The Tenth Virgin is a ground-breaking novel that's not only a compelling mystery... but also a revealing, highly-accurate look at the Mormon church, its beliefs and its culture....that's as stunning today as it was when it rocked the crime fiction world forty years ago.
      New York private eye Gabe Utley returns to his hometown of Salt Lake City after his high-school sweetheart, married to a prominent member of the Mormon church, asks him to find her missing and troubled teenage daughter, who may have been kidnapped by a violent polygamist cult. It's a job Gabe doubts he can do, but he won't let go, confronting the wealthy and powerful Mormon hierarchy, delving into the depths of the poverty-ridden polygamist clans of Southern Utah, and exposing the dark secrets behind a brutal murder.
      The book features an introduction by Mystery Scene columnist Ben Boulden that explores the life of author and Salt Lake City native Gary Stewart and the intriguing backstory behind his two ground-breaking Utley novels.

“Stewart is a smooth writer. His narrative moves quickly. The most interesting parts of the book, however, are the extensive descriptions of both orthodox Mormon and polygamist beliefs and ways of life. He opens a window onto a complex world most people know little about.” New York Times


“NY sleuth Gabe Utley finds lots of vile language, violence and Lolita-type sex under the surface of Utah's Mormon respectability. A solid debut... with gamey motives, a high body count, intriguing characters, and a confident style.” Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review

“Stewart’s knack for capturing Mormonism’s unique culture, from its hierarchical structure to its more endearing family-cen-tric attitudes, with a sly and kind humor make The Tenth Virgin something of a time capsule of Utah and Mormonism in the 1980s.” Ben Boulden, from his introduction.

Go to Amazons website for The Tenth Virgin

The Zarahemla Vision 

from the back cover…

The critically acclaimed sequel to Gary Stewart’s break-out novel The Tenth Virgin.

“A solidly crafted, skillfully plotted, highly readable second venture into Mormonland – Salt Lake City and environs...a rich, many-layered story, full of twists and turns, touching moments and memorable people.” Kirkus Reviews 

Salt Lake City private eye Gabe Utley’s cousin disappears, shortly after claiming that a “revelation” has prompted him to kidnap Wilford Richards, the ailing president of the Mormon church. Which is odd, since the Church announces Richards’ death, schedules his funeral, and names his successor, a California businessman with a shady background. Is Richards a hostage… or is he dead? And if he’s dead, why can Utley find anyone who has seen the corpse? Utley’s dogged investigation forces him to confront his own complex relationship with the faith and pulls him into a deadly whirlwind of corruption, lies and murder.
      The new edition features an introduction by Mystery Scene columnist Ben Boulden that explores the life of author and Salt Lake City native Gary Stewart and the intriguing backstory behind his two ground-breaking Gabe Utley crime novels.

“A marvelously intricate mystery with fascinating looks at modern Mormonism. Stewart's depiction of Salt Lake City and the Mormon religion and culture are masterly.” Publishers Weekly

“A very impressive book...what makes Utley’s sleuthing so compelling is his own Mormon upbringing.” San Francisco Examiner

Go to Amazons website for The Zarahemla Vision 


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