Title: Load Up (Lark Davis Mysteries #3)
Author: Annabelle Hunter
Published on: 29 October 2019
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Load Up is the third book in Annabelle Hunter’s Lark Davis Mystery series.
Lark Davis is a single mother and a horse trainer. She moved to Barrow Bay with her daughter Hailey after divorcing her husband. Things have not been pretty easy peasy for Lark. A couple of months earlier, she found a severed leg in her front porch. Ouch! [Leg Up] Then, a horse becomes ill and dies. [Stir Up] And this time, the HOA president is murdered.
Gerald, the president of HOA and the owner of a local hardware store was a grumpy old man. The story starts with Gerald banging Lark’s door at 6 in the morning – to complain about the ‘devil’s circle’; well, it is a bohemian fairy circle but the grumpy fella doesn’t take no for an answer. The ‘devil’s circle’ must go. After complaining, he walks away only to find his neighbour Nancy holding him responsible for the Raccoon menace. Nancy is blind as a bat and the ‘Raccoon’ she saw might very well have been a ‘Cat’. Wow, that rhymed!
The next day, Gerald is found dead in his house – shot in the back. Ouch! Brecken, the Captain America-ish looking cop who’s stolen Lark’s heart arrives at the scene. (Ooh well, there are some more surprises in store for Lark but let’s concentrate on the murder, yeah?) Gerald had a long list of enemies and each one of them might have a reason to kill him. Lark is also a suspect. Now, that isn’t good, is it? So off she goes, in search of clues, putting her life in danger once again.
I have been following this series from the start and I now know what to expect from the Barrow Bay-ers. These folks thrive on gossip. Lindsey is the local self-proclaimed reporter who runs a blog. Barrow Bay-ers get their daily dose of gossip from Lindsey’s blog and/or The Sewing Circle. Who slept with whom, who died, who dated whom and everything else, these guys know it all. So when Brecken comes back to town (he left Barrow Bay for a few weeks), everybody starts to talk about it. He kissed Lark and, yes, you guessed it right, the whole town knows about it!
When Gerald is found murdered, Lark is one of the suspects – they lived on the same street and she has no alibi. Lark is nosy and she wants to know who killed Gerald. There’s his good-for-nothing son Evan; Mary – his ex-wife. Or, can it be one of the peeps whom Gerald pissed off? Brecken warns her to back off but she doesn’t.
Gossip plays a major role in the story – and this is what ‘helps’ Lark in solving the case. I see the ‘mystery’ and ‘suspense’ element decreasing with each new book in this series. The ‘quirkiness’ is becoming monotonous. As the story ends, there were some loose ends. Like, a fella named SJ might have appeared and disappeared – is he the mystery man Lark saw? The readers are kept in the dark about SJ/Mystery Man. Then comes Evan’s role in the story. Lark is convinced that he had something to do with his dad’s murder. In that case, why was Mary found sneaking into the house? The reasons given here didn’t make a lot of sense.
The ending was okay. The reason behind Gerald’s murder was not up to my liking – unacceptable and unexpected kinda scenario here. I am not really convinced about the ending. Nope. I wish there was some solid reason for killing the poor fella. I hope the next book in this series makes up for all the niggles I have had in this book.