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    Review of DO YOU BELIEVE? by Ann Lawrence (see her website)

    Tor Books, May 2005

    Review by Cathy Richard Dodson (see her website)

    Rose Early's first visit to England isn't all she might have hoped it would be. Instead her trip is a result of her sister Joan's mysterious disappearance from a small English village while working on her latest coffee table photograph book. Joan's current topic is old churches, and Rose must sift through what's left of her research to find out what's happened to her sister. When she finds notes in the margin of a horror novel written by a successful local writer, Rose seeks him out with the hope that he can help her.

    Vic Drummond is sexy and appealing, just the kind of person her sister Joan would be drawn to. He agrees to try and help Joan find her sister, but doesn't reveal his own relationship with Joan. Little by little, Vic finds himself captivated by Rose, and wants more and more to keep his brief sex-based fling with Joan a secret.

    Rose and Vic find themselves drawn into an intensely passionate relationship, but there seems to be more to it-something seems to be drawing them together for some evil purpose of its own. Though neither of them really believes that evils to match a horror novel can manifest in the real world, as they explore the local town church with its centuries old tapestry, they begin to believe. What else can account for the horrible way they feel or the visions they experience every time they enter the church?

    After they discover the body of Rose's sister in the church crypt, they're certain she must have discovered a terrible secret that brought about her death, and are determined to make sense of it. They also decide that together they will finish the book Joan began. Their search for answers leads them from the church to a mysterious sex club in London, where members in bizarre demon attire eventually provide a clue to the fate of Joan.

    As they draw closer to the evil that destroyed Joan, they realize that only by working together and holding their “goodness” close to them will they be able to ward off the demons threatening to destroy them. But will their battle for good bring them closer together, or break their mysterious passion and force them apart?

    I originally bought this novel because the cover reminded me of the old Gothics I love to read. I wasn't really expecting a horror story, which is what it turned out to be-a very "sexy" horror story! The book held my attention, and the descriptions are strong, but I didn't find myself as caught up and moved by the characters as I would have liked to be. Also, while the plot was interesting, you're never really told what the evil in the book is about-where did it come from? Why? Answering these questions might have strengthened the protagonists in the story. All in all, Do You Believe? is little more than a bit of fluff for readers who enjoy horror stories mixed with a lot of sex.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/13/05

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