SPRINGVILLE — On page 99 of Chad Daybell's new book, "Chasing Paradise," a warrior angel swoops in, plucks up a naughty spirit by the nape of her neck and drop-kicks her through the wall.

Daybell says that by then, readers are happy to see the troublesome "Ruby" banished.

Unfortunately for Daybell, that same scene has booted his novel off the shelves at Deseret Book stores.

Daybell said he was told last week that Deseret Book buyer Sarah Hoffman found the passage "irreverent" and therefore unsuitable for sale by the chain, which recently announced a sweeping clean-up policy for its merchandise.

Daybell — who has several books including the popular "Tiny Talks" books in Deseret Book stores — was shocked.

"As the managing editor of Cedar Fort publishing, it's part of my job to watch for offensive material," Daybell said. "I certainly didn't think my own novel would fall into that category."

Daybell said Deseret Book's reaction has him confused.

"I like the idea of making sure everything Deseret Book sells is uplifting and inspirational, but I find it bothersome that many of the New York Time's bestsellers are still sold there," Daybell said. "I don't think LDS authors should be the only ones targeted."

Deseret Book officials suggested there may be other reasons behind the book's removal.

Gail Brown, publicity manager for Deseret Book, said perhaps Daybell's book wasn't of high enough quality to warrant being included in the stock for Deseret Book.

Keith Hunter, vice president of marketing and sales, said Deseret Book can only purchase a limited number of products to sell and the decision to buy an author's work is based on the book at hand, not necessarily on the success of previous books.

"This is difficult for us," Hunter said. "His (Daybell's) children's products have sold well while his others have not. My understanding is there are a number of problems with the sales potential of this book."

Hunter said while he has not read "Chasing Paradise," he feels confident that Daybell is not being singled out and the book is not "banned."

"We will special order the book if people request it," he said.

Daybell said prior to Hoffman's kibosh, the book was to be included as part of a Deseret Book advertising catalogue scheduled to go out this month. Deseret Book also has him scheduled for a book signing in Las Vegas next week.

"I can still go," Daybell said, "but I can't sign these (the new book)."

Daybell said he could edit out the offending sequence about the warrior, but that wouldn't make him happy.

"The passage is based on an actual event," he said. "My Young Men's president was killed in an automobile accident and two years later, his nephew was attacked by evil spirits on his mission to Brazil. Chris (the dead president) showed up and fought off the evil spirits and led the missionaries to safety."

Daybell said he feels unfairly and arbitrarily singled out because one employee disliked one passage in the story.

"That's the main reason I'm publicly objecting," he said. "I didn't want to let this die because it feels so subjective. Is this the new standard, no swearing, no sex and, now, no conflict? If this is the new standard, LDS novelists might as well put away their word processors because potentially anything can come under fire."

"The Last Promise," a book by best-selling author Richard Paul Evans, was the first book removed from Deseret Book shelves over a scene where an upset married woman seeks comfort from a male friend.

"I watched that and felt bad for Evans. I never thought it would be happening to me," Daybell said.

Daybell, a Brigham Young University graduate in journalism, has written four other books. One is based on stories he came across as he worked as the sexton for the Springville City Cemetery.

"I knew enough not to submit that one to Deseret Book," he said.

"Youth of Zion," based on the lives of LDS Church prophets, and a trilogy based on Emma Smith, along with "Tiny Talks," are all available through Deseret Book.


E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com