Venise Berry, . . Dutton, $23.95 (259pp) ISBN 978-0-525-94471-3

The mystery of voodoo mingles with the search for spirituality and faith in the lives of two young women, each facing the challenge of understanding just what a meaningful relationship might be, in this entertaining if far-fetched novel by Berry, author of the Blackboard bestsellers All of Me and So Good. Adel Kelly, a vice-president with American Oil Corporation, has reached a crossroads in her life. Her second husband, minister's son Thad, is showing signs of the same immaturity and evasiveness as her first husband, and she is beginning to have doubts about the morality of American Oil's business practices. All serious problems—but they seem thoroughly mundane when compared to the situation her best friend, Lucy Merriwether, is embroiled in. Lucy, the regional manager of a chain of fitness centers, has been courted for years by Spencer, the upstanding owner of a McDonald's franchise, but when she hears the voice of sexy television hot-line psychic Kuba, she believes she finally understands true passion. In an unlikely chain of events, she winds up in Kuba's python-and-candle-furnished lair, hypnotized by his sensual moves. Adel tries to save her friend from Kuba's sinister clutches, but Lucy isn't sure she wants to be saved. Meanwhile, Adel is getting religion herself, though hers is of the more conventional variety. This is hardly a deep exploration of questions of faith, but those who like their romance weighted with otherworldly significance will find plenty to satisfy them here. (Jan.)

Forecast:A funky cover and the religious focus should attract younger readers exploring their spirituality, but the voodoo sessions may be a bit much for older devotees of Christian fiction.