Authors Davidson, Grant, Showalter and Cast are back together again, Mysteria Lane (Berkley Sensation) takes us back to the town founded by a demon's random act of kindness and you'll recognise many of the town's oddball inhabitants from the previous two visits (Mysteria was the same town but with a different name in Bewitched, Bothered & BeVampyred, the hard to find anthology that gave birth to it all.) All four stories have character tie-ins for Mysteria (Berkley Sensation) and BB&B fans, but with the exception of Davidson's, the stories standalone pretty well, giving hints of the past stories but not relying on the reader having read them.
Davidson's "Disdaining Trouble" - Is a twofer. After an unfortunate run in with a wishing well, one of the terrible twelve year old Disdaine triplets disappears for 6 seconds and returns the grown-up warrior princess of pizza joint owner Thad's dreams. Also woven into the story is a follow on to `Alone Wolf', river nymph Jan has got it bad for ghost Handywoman Rae, he sees past the grumpiness to find a lonely, but fiesty, kindred spirit. - If you like Davidson's bizarre zany style, you'll probably like this one but with two pairings in this short a story there were both really `wham bam, thankyou mam' romances. (3 stars)
In Grant's `The Nanny from Hell' - Lucifer sends demon Shay to kill off Damon Jr, the son of former demon Damon and Reverend Harmony Faithful, but Shay too has a run in with the wishing well, and ends up with a soul, confusing the heck out of demon hunter Quel Laredo who sensed the presence of a demon right before her `ensoulment'. But how's Shay going to complete her mission with the sexy Quel keeping an eye on her and her pesky new soul getting in the way of her do-or-die mission. - I really liked Quel but in a story this short I didn't have time to get attached to the reformed Shay. (3 stars)
`A Tawdry Affair', at last, gives the final Tawdry Witch sister, Glory, a chance for revenge against gorgeous Falon who ground her heart into the dust. But will she use a magic pen to write his torturous comeuppance or will she compose a fantasy to get the `taste' of luscious Falon she's always longed for. - Showalter's was my favorite of the anthology and this was the best of the three sisters' stories, it was fun and does a good job of building the tension by holding off the steamy payoff `til near the end. (4.5 stars)
Finally P.C. Cast's "It's In his Kiss" - Summer has returned to Mysteria, and is ready to settle down with the Fairy of her dreams - she has a plan, now she only has to get Kenny to notice her. But when she meet dark vampire Colin, her mixed up magic gives a whole new meaning to `you are my sunshine' and it just may be time to dump `her plan' of marrying the frothy fairy boy and, gasp, trust in Colin and her magic instead. - This one was a bit long on set up - we got to know Summer pretty well - and it left me wishing that there had been room for more of Colin. (4 stars)
Mysteria Lane very much had the feel of this gangs' previous anthologies, though I didn't like it quite as well as Mysteria (Cast's story in that one was one of my favorite werewolf shorts). So if you liked Mysteria and BB&B you'll probably feel right at home on Mysteria Lane. If your favorite characters didn't make the cut in this anthology, the author quartet are taking requests for the next journey to Mysteria, so visit the their websites and cast your votes.