Death on a Cliff: Aloha Lagoon Mystery By Rosalie Spielman: Review/Giveaway/Interview

Aug 20, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

This week we have a review of Death On a Cliff by Rosalie Spielman along with an interesting interview with Rosalie. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Death on a Cliff: Aloha Lagoon Mystery By Rosalie Spielman
Review by Kathleen Costa

Gemma Halliday Publishing gathered several popular cozy authors at the Aloha Lagoon resort on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Each author took a particular facet of resort life to set their mystery adding tropical breezes, crystal blue surf, umbrella-ed drinks, and murderous mayhem. Each book follows the mishaps of very capable young women who find sleuthing is as dangerous as surfing among the sharks. It also includes a few cameo appearances by characters from the other books who work at the resort. Book your flight today and enjoy the entire multi-author series at GHP HERE.

Socialite Katherine Barrington escaped the pressures of her wealthy family, changed her name, and without any family support, hid out as a dive shop instructor at the Aloha Lagoon Resort. The dive shop is managed by Kahaiu Kakoa and his son Dex, and through them she found a cheep backyard bungalow to stay in from Kahaiu’s sister, lovingly called “Auntie” Akamai by everyone. It did, however, come with an additional roommate, Auntie’s obnoxious parrot Paulie. Kiki’s family didn’t take “I’m not coming home” for an answer and sent a no-nonsense goon to bring her back. That, sadly, didn’t go well turning into her introduction to murder, police scrutiny, and behind-the-scenes sleuthing. After it all, Dex and Kiki are now dating. Life in paradise is as cool as a tropical breeze, but remember the volcanoes are always there to heat it up!

Death on a Cliff Earns 5/5 Vacation Photos…Engaging Twist & Turns!
Dex’s friends from his University of Washington days gather to celebrate their friend, “Tiny” Anelo, being drafted by the NFL, but the festivities are derailed when Delaney Turner, Tiny’s ex-girlfriend, makes a surprise entrance. Tiny is shocked, his friends are worried, and Pika, Tiny’s brother, is furious she had the gall to show up after her post break up “ghosting” devastated Tiny. In order to diffuse the situation, Tiny agrees to a private conversation, but the friends as well as a restaurant full of gawkers witness Delaney jamming her finger into Tiny’s chest. This will be enough for the police to hold Tiny for murder when Dex and Kiki’s romantic evening includes the discovery of Delaney’s body. Dex is adamant Tiny couldn’t have killed his ex despite any hints of motive, opportunity, and means and implores Kiki to use her newly honed detective skills to prove it.

Cozy Gem! Rosalie Spielman has heated up the tropics with a sizzling murder mystery entangling our heroine, her boyfriend, and his best friend. The fact that Dex is too close to the situation and reluctant to share inside information has Kiki frustrated and worried about their relationship, but Auntie Akamai eagerly volunteers to partner in her covert investigation. The pair uncover details about a possible illicit affair and putting together a time line and suspect list reveals secrets, lies, and a blackmail scheme. A clever and engaging read with additional insights into sibling rivalries, jealousies, misguided friendships, a questionable sports agent, and then, another dead body. But, discounting a perilous moment or two, it all culminates into a satisfying, yet surprise, arrest.

It’s always more than a murder mystery with Rosalie Spielman. Her writing describes with sensory-laden language the environment with which I personally have many fond memories, and the banter illustrates well the diverse, multi-generational personalities I have fun following. The dynamic between Kiki and Dex’s Aunt Akamai is delightful, and the budding romance between Dex and Kiki is showing a few issues with trust. Detective Ray Kahoalani, the lead investigator in many of the Aloha Lagoon mysteries, not once has appreciated the amateur interference, but he does start to show some curious interest in what Kiki has to say. Cozy gem!

Aloha Lagoon Mystery
Check out the other authors—Amazon Link HERE.
Books by Rosalie Spielman
Death Under the Sea (2021) KRL News Review HERE
Death on a Cliff (2022)

Be a Big Fan Rosalie Spielman!
“Somewhere along the way, I discovered that I could make other people laugh with my writing. I enjoy reading to escape from the real world, and hope to give you the same with my stories.” —Rosalie Spielman (website bio)
Facebook—Rosalie Spielman, Author
Website—Rosalie Spielman, Author
Reader group: You Know The Spiel!
Twitter: @YouKnowTheSpiel
IG: rosalie.spielman

Be a Big Fan of Gemma Halliday Publishing!
Website—Gemma Halliday Publishing

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

Interview with Rosalie Spielman:

KRL: How long have you been writing?

Rosalie: I’ve always been a voracious reader and tinkered a little with writing, but I didn’t start writing seriously with the goal to be published until 2015.

KRL: When did your first novel come out, what was it called, and would you tell us a little about it?

Rosalie Spielman

Rosalie:Death Under the Sea was my first published novel, released in November 2021. It is #16 in the multi-author Aloha Lagoon series from Gemma Halliday Publishing. My character, Kiki Hepburn, is a dive tour leader at the Aloha Lagoon resort in Kauai. My first original novel, the one I queried my agent with, is Welcome Home to Murder, published this past June. It was amazing to see my story of Tessa, an Army veteran mechanic, returning to her hometown, finally on the printed page!

KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense and if not, what else have you written?

Rosalie: I used to dabble in fantasy, with paranormal and supernatural characters. I enjoy building worlds where the constraints of “real life” don’t interfere. However, I read a lot of cozies, so it only seemed natural to start writing them. The early version of what ended up as Welcome Home to Murder was actually paranormal.

KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series?

Rosalie: I was born and spent my early years in the Palouse region of Idaho. I cast around for years to find the right place to set my Hometown Mysteries, but it wasn’t until my parents moved back to my birthplace and I visited that I realized the Palouse was where my series was meant to be set.

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to experience from your work?

Rosalie: I read to escape reality, which means I don’t read true crime or fiction that is dark or unhappy. Sounds funny for someone who writes about murder, right? I strive to do the same for others, taking them to somewhere different and entertaining, give them a break from the negativity of our world. I love to hear people laughed when reading my stories.

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just work whenever you can?

Rosalie: I have several upcoming deadlines, so I can no longer afford to just write when I feel like it. When I’m drafting, I make a point of writing at least six days a week and aim to meet or exceed my word count goal for the day. I use an app that looks at the due date and total word count that I set and determines how much I need to do to stay on track. Until I found it, I had a hard time figuring out how much I needed to do daily. Sometimes though, all the other tasks that come with being published has to take precedence, and any new writing takes a hit.

KRL: What is your ideal time to write?

Rosalie: I usually work mid-morning when I have the house to myself, but am a bit of a night owl as well.

KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?

Rosalie: I make a rough outline with bullet points and write by the seat of my pants between them, like a road trip where you know where you’re spending the night, but not what you’re going to see along the way! It can cause problems sometimes, with extra characters popping up or the killer being different than the intended person… I also tend to get a middle-of-the-book brain slump. My future goal is to write a more thorough synopsis or outline to avoid the slump.

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

Rosalie: My first two stories were mysteries, but they went nowhere. Then I wrote and queried two different Urban Fantasy stories. Fantasy is a huge genre and it is incredibly hard to stand out and get noticed. I was getting good feedback in Twitter contests, but not from agents. I returned to and rewrote one of my original mystery stories, and got better results, getting manuscript requests from agents. But I still didn’t get offers until the story morphed into what you see now in Welcome Home to Murder. I had to write out the paranormal aspect, which surprises a lot of readers when I mention agents didn’t want paranormal.

KRL: What are your future writing goals?

Rosalie: It’s hard to think past the four deadlines between now and June 2023! But I’d love to continue my Hometown Mysteries and have made rough notes on a few future series. I’d love the challenge of writing a historical mystery and have some ideas percolating. I’d love to return to paranormal mystery someday as well.

KRL: What kind of research do you do?

Rosalie: Usually, my research is just internet-based, like what a certain vintage car looks like or scuba diving hand signals. I look forward to trying my hand with traditional research for historical mysteries.

KRL: What do you like to read?

Rosalie: I read a lot of cozies, but also historical (mystery and otherwise) and fantasy. I also really enjoy magical realism, like Heather Webber, Sarah Addison Allen, or Menna von Praag’s books. I also enjoy off the wall stuff like Douglas Adams and Jasper Fforde, and have been trying to read Good Omens (Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchet) for months now. It demands more brain than I can muster at the moment!

KRL: What are your favorite TV shows or movies?

Rosalie: They tend to be along the same lines as I read. Supernatural, Buffy, Marvel movies, so I suppose stories where the hero struggles but wins in the end. I also love silly but clever comedies, like Ghosts and Resident Alien. Clever writing will get me every time.

KRL: Have you any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Rosalie: If your goal is to be published, I cannot stress enough that you remember publishing is a business. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes than with the acceptance or rejection of your book than you can see. And remember, it is not personal.

Secondly, build your resume. Getting a short story accepted to an anthology was like a magic moment in confidence but also changed the dynamic of my “writing resume,” and that’s when things started really happening.

KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Rosalie: I was an Army Lieutenant for several years and still can’t spell “lieutenant” without spellcheck’s help.

KRL: Do you have any pets?

Rosalie: Yes. We have a Boxer, Tango, and a cat, Mr. Beans. They are my writing buddies and are usually at my side when I am working. Or in the case of the cat, on my keyboard.

KRL: Is there anything you would like to add?

Rosalie: My newest book, Death on a Cliff (see review above), is now available! This is Kiki’s second adventure in Aloha Lagoon. And that anthology I mentioned above, which is Chesapeake Crimes: Magic is Murder! will be published at the end of August.

Also, my website now includes links to some independent bookstores who can order and ship my books to you, including one local to me where you can buy a signed copy.

To enter to win an ebook copy of Death on a Cliff, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “cliff,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 27, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Hawaii can be very nice! Count me in the drawing!

  2. Thank you for having me, KRL! I appreciate all your support. <3

  3. You are very welcome Rosalie!
    We have a winner!


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