Told by a former high-level member of the Peoples Temple and Jonestown survivor, Seductive Poison is the "truly unforgettable" (Kirkus Review) story of how one woman was seduced by one of the most notorious cults in recent memory and how she found her way back to sanity.

From Waco to Heaven's Gate, the past decade has seen its share of cult tragedies. But none has been quite so dramatic or compelling as the Jonestown massacre of 1978, in which the Reverend Jim Jones and 913 of his disciples perished. Deborah Layton had been a member of the Peoples Temple for seven years when she departed for Jonestown, Guyana, the promised land nestled deep in the South American jungle. When she arrived, however, Layton saw that something was seriously wrong. Jones constantly spoke of a revolutionary mass suicide, and Layton knew only too well that he had enough control over the minds of the Jonestown residents to carry it out. But her pleas for help--and her sworn affidavit to the U.S. government--fell on skeptical ears. In this very personal account, Layton opens up the shadowy world of cults and shows how anyone can fall under their spell. Seductive Poison is both an unflinching historical document and a riveting story of intrigue, power, and murder.


PRAISE:
"A suspenseful tale of escape that reads like a satisfying thriller, Layton's account is the most important personal testimony to emerge from the Jonestown tragedy." --The Chicago Tribune
 
"A fascinating account of a debacle that continues to resonate" --Entertainment Weekly
 
"Layton is scrupulous and honest... A terrific read... a page turner to rival the best spy thriller." --The Evening Standard UK
 
"Even teens unfamiliar with Jonestown will find this a powerful memoir." --Booklist
 
"A chilling account... Truly unforgettable" --Kirkus Review (starred review)
 
 “Seductive Poison is an absolutely riveting story, told as memoir but with the pulse-pounding suspense of a murder mystery. I read Layton's account non-stop through the night, unable to let go, struck by the realization that this is not simply an account of a bygone tragedy. It has great relevance to many of the terrible events we see unfolding today, for this is a story about those who seek a better world and are then inextricably caught in a plan to end it. This is a universal tale about ideology gone awry.” --Amy Tan
 
“Cults are multiplying and growing in this country. Why do apparently normal people surrender in body and soul to a charismatic egomaniac? Deborah Layton knows. This haunting book, written with candor and passion reads like a thriller. I could not put it down.” --Isabel Allende

"Shattering." --The Boston Globe

"Vividly written and powerfully told." --Librarby Journal

"An emotionally articulate and gripping account." --The Nation
Praise for Deborah Layton's Seductive Poison

"A suspenseful tale of escape that reads like a satisfying thriller, Layton's account is the most important personal testimony to emerge from the Jonestown tragedy." —Chicago Tribune

"A fascinating account of a debacle that continues to resonate." —Entertainment Weekly

"Shattering." —The Boston Globe

"An emotionally articulate and gripping account." —The Nation

"Why do apparently normal people surrender in body and soul to a charismatic egomaniac? Deborah Layton knows. This haunting book, written with candor and passion reads like a thriller. I could not put it down." —Isabel Allende

"An absolutely riveting story, told as memoir but with the pulse-pounding suspense of a murder mystery. I read Layton's account non-stop through the night, unable to let go, struck by the realization that this is not simply an account of a bygone tragedy. It has great relevance to many of the terrible events we see unfolding today, for this is a story about those who seek a better world and are then inextricably caught in a plan to end it. This is a universal tale about ideology gone awry." —Amy Tan

“Deborah Layton is the unsung hero of Jonestown and her gripping and brave story kept me glued to the page. An essential read for those seeking to understand what went wrong in Peoples Temple/ Jonestown.” —Julia Scheeres, New York Times bestselling author of Jesus Land: A Memoir  and A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown

"Deborah Layton’s account of the notorious Jonestown disaster explains the timeless allure and peril of charismatic cult figures."
—Adrienne Mayor, author of The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy

"Seductive Poison is beautiful writing, deep psychological insight, and heart-pounding narrative, but above all it is antidote to the political poison of our time."
—John C. Wathey, author of The Illusion of God’s Presence: The Biological Origins of Spiritual Longing
 
"Fiercely relevant. . . . Layton's compelling first hand account shows how ordinary people became trapped in a web of lies and conspiracy theories, clinging on to the promise of salvation as they marched towards their doom." Mick West, author of Escaping The Rabbit Hole

"Deborah Layton's fierce commitment in bearing witness to the atrocities in Jonestown of 1978 serves as an urgent reminder to all of us. We cannot afford to ignore these lessons about the underlying causes as well as the devastating consequences of blind devotion, manipulation, and dehumanization. Remembrance combined with unflinching vigilance are not only necessary, they are our only hope for a transformed future."  —Elizabeth Rosner, author of Survivor Cafe: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory