"Fatal Break" Aloha Lagoon Mystery By Beth Prentice: Review/Giveaway/Interview

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of this book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Surf’s Up!
Samantha “Sam” Reynolds was fired for something she knows wasn’t her fault, but she has an exciting fall-back position. Her mother and twin brother both live in the Hawaiian Islands, so her decision to relocate from Australia to Kauai seems a no-brainer...we should all be so lucky! But, is it luck? She is hoping to get a job at the Aloha Lagoon Resort’s children’s surf instructor, improve her bank balance, and move out of her mother’s house before one or the other is harmed (I can identify). But, even though she is offered the job, begins to settle in with new friends and a budding romance, and finds ways to navigate issues with her new employment, she discovers...dead bodies! Investigating murder is a skill set she will need to perfect.

Deadly Wipeout (2016)
Lethal Tide (2018)
Fatal Break (2019)

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Image Source Gemma Halliday
Fatal Break earns 5/5 Surfboard Ventures...Entertaining and Clever!
It’s Hawaii and tropical storms are a common occurrence, but it is the emotional storm set on Sam’s BFF Alani that is of greater concern. A stranger approaches the friends with a crumpled photo of Nathan McCauley causing Alani to grimace. She admits that Nathan was a former boyfriend who instead of accompanying her on a once-in-a-lifetime European vacation, he stole her money...$20,000! Everyone is sympathetic, yet they know Alani has found her soulmate in Sam’s brother Luke. However, she obviously is upset he may be on the island and still harbors serious hatred having already devised a plan to cause him physical discomfort...beware the mango tree! This she will regret when Sam discovers Alani standing over Nathan’s bludgeoned body in her family’s surf shop. Can you say “murder suspect” in Hawaiian?

“Aloooha!” says Karma. Beth Prentice is a favorite with a delightful writing style that gives readers a treat seeing karma serving up some well deserved “just desserts.” I greatly enjoyed her use of the first-person narrative; for me reading the “I” perspective provides a vicarious sense of being in the middle of it all. Sam is a delight, and I enjoyed her inner thoughts, vulnerability, and sometimes humorous take on the murderous situation. Beth may use the traditional cozy formula with a quick to occur murder, several suspects with motives to consider, admirable and quirky characters, a bit of romance, and a satisfying “Oh, wow!” ending that usually includes some peril for the main characters...but her story is well-written with descriptive language and dialogue that does well to illustrate the setting and her characters and their personalities. Karma, yes, I love it, but Beth also makes sure to put family and close friends as an extremely important component: trust, loyalty, humor, and honesty. This book is easily enjoyed in one or two sitting by fans and newbies alike...add a Mai Tai and you’re set!

Beth Prentice’s three-book sub series is the fifteenth book of the Gemma Halliday Publishing Aloha Lagoon Mystery series. Several authors, many personal favorites, are involved in the endeavor with each author taking on a facet of the resort life from restaurants to shops to resort activities and sharing the island setting along with some of the people, especially the sometimes aggregating Detective Ray Kahoalani, however, they always add their own style, creativity, thematic focus, and wonderful characters. The whole series is a marvelous tropical treat...Join in!

Be a Fan!
Along with being one of the creative parts of Gemma Halliday Publishing’s multi-author Aloha Lagoon Mystery series, Beth Prentice pens the two-book Unleashed Mysteries (Killer Unleashed 2015; Deadly Tails 2017) and the humorous mystery novel Invitation to Murder (2016). She also penned a four-book romantic suspense series, the Westport Mysteries: Dangerous Deals (retitled 2017), Give Murder a Hand (2015), Deathly Desire ((2018), and The Christmas Gift (retitled 2017). Lots to choose from!

Facebook - Beth Prentice, Author
Website - Beth Prentice Novels

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 a 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 her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Our Guest…Beth Prentice
Award winning, USA Today Best-selling Author
KRL: It is marvelous for me to have Beth Prentice celebrating the release of the fifteenth book in the Gemma Halliday Publishing multi-author Aloha Lagoon Mystery series, and her third in her sub series Fatal Break. Can you give us a mini biography for Beth Prentice? Who is she and what influenced her to become a writer?

Beth: I was born in Manchester, England, but after moving backwards and forwards across the world thirteen times in fourteen years, I decided that at the age of eighteen Australia was to be my home. I now live on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, where every day is a good one. I’m the lucky mother of two grown up children, and, along with my ever-patient husband, I’m the proud but sometimes flustered owner of three dogs, a cat, two guinea pigs, and a canary. I’ve always had a love of reading, and even though my background is in accounting, I have discovered my love of writing. My mum grew up in WWII and always told me the stories. They weren't scary stories but usually quirky and funny of the things my grandmother used to do. I’d decided that those stories needed to be written. However, when I started another story came to me and Dangerous Deeds was born. I still have those war stories on my To Do list, and I’ve promised myself that one day they will be written.
Beth Prentice

KRL: I love cozies, and your series in the Aloha Lagoon franchise is very entertaining following the delightful traditions of cozies. What is it about cozies that keeps you interested in writing them?

I love mystery and intrigue, but to be honest I’m pretty chicken. Cozies give me the outlet to follow the mystery with the knowledge that my heroine will be safe.

KRL: Your three-book series began in 2016 with Deadly Wipeout introducing Samantha Reynolds as the resort’s children’s surfing instructor, and although she can ride the waves, teaching the skill is a challenge. Being a retired teacher myself, I understand many of the challenges in teaching. Can you give us some background or insights into this series and how it got started? Do you surf or are you a beach watcher?

Beth: LOL, I’m definitely not a surfer! I do love the beach but sitting on the sand watching the waves is as close as I will get. Maybe I’ll get my feet wet, but that’s it. I got started in this series when Gemma sent an email to all her authors with the idea of Aloha Lagoon. I’d never written in a multi-author series before, so the challenge intrigued me. The idea of Samantha just came to me, and I loved the idea that she was out of her depth teaching yet was determined to make the job work for her.
KRL: The characters you’ve created in all of your series seem so universal. Their personalities, manner, and relationships make them seem like neighbors, family, and friends. Can we find you in Samantha or any one of your other characters? Did you write your characters by taking from real-life people, “changing the names to…,” you get my drift?

Beth: You will definitely find some of Samantha in me. It’s the part where she feels out of her depth with the prospect of her new job, but battles through regardless. None of the characters that I write are one particular person I know, but you will find characteristics of just about everyone I’ve ever met in them. I love people watching and learning mannerisms, and the way they react to certain instances fascinates me. It all gets stored away in my brain until one day I find the perfect character for it.

KRL: I am fascinated by the fact you are a transplant from Manchester, England, living on the east coast of Australia. I am an eager Anglophile, and also visited a few marvelous spots down under. Does this influence your writing? Do you see a need to change anything for your American fans?

Beth: The biggest challenge writing for the US reader is the language. Considering we all speak English, you’d be shocked as to how many differences there are between us. Not only are some spellings different, but the names we use can be so different. Just simple things like “counter.” In Australia a counter is a “bench top.”

KRL: You also pen for Gemma Halliday Publishing the delightful two-book The Unleashed Mysteries introducing Chloe McDermott with Killer Unleashed (2015) and followed up with Deadly Tails (2017). Can you share the background of the series? Any plans to revisit Chloe with another book?

Beth: I have been thinking of jumping back into Chloe’s world. I love her, but mostly I love her little dog Theo. Earlier I said that you will only ever find parts of characters I know in my novels. Well, Theo is the exception. He’s my daughters’ dog and has the personality of a human! I swear he’s walked this planet in a previous life, LOL.
Theo is patterned after Beth's dog

The idea for the first book in the series came to me when my elderly neighbor was moving into a retirement home. That same night I was sitting watching television thinking about her, when Theo jumped on my chest and stared into my eyes. The opening scene of Killer Unleashed was written within the hour.

KRL: You also have the four-book Westport Mystery series that I see had some title changes: Dangerous Deals (retitled 2017), Give Murder a Hand (2015), Deathly Desire (2018), and The Christmas Gift (retitled 2017). Can you give us some insights into this series and it’s characters? Any plans to add to this series?

Beth: All my books are my babies, but Dangerous Deeds is special in that it was my first book that I released into the world. I was happily surprised by how many people loved it and the heroine Lizzie. Of all my characters she’s the closest to me in personality, but thankfully I’ve never experienced some of the things that she does after buying an old house in need of renovation. When I wrote Deathly Desire, the last book in that series, readers wrote to me saying how much they would miss the characters. To be honest, I missed them, too, so I’m now in the planning stage of writing a spin off series with Lizzie’s sister Molly.
KRL: There are several cozy authors that have ventured into writing more edgy thrillers with more intense crimes. Have you entertained the idea of writing in that genre? Science Fiction, maybe, or a courtroom drama?

Beth: Not really. My series The Westport Mysteries is as edgy as I will get. In my life I get some anxiety and like to keep things as happy as I can, which is why I write books that are lighthearted, and you know will end on a happy note – despite the fact that dead bodies keep turning up. LOL

KRL: Writing can be very personal and unique to each author, and many have other employment obligations to manage. Does your writing compete with another job or family responsibilities? What is a day of writing like for you?

Beth: I’m lucky in that I don’t have a day job where I have to clock in every day. We have a family run business which I do the admin for, but I can do that when it suits me, so that means I get to write when I need to.

KRL: You include “fur” friends in some of your series, and I notice your bio states you have a variety of pets. Can you tell us about your “fur” family? Have you always had animals in your life? Does having a life with animals inspire your writing in any way?

Beth: Oh geez, we have quite a few animals. WE only live on a suburban block, but we tend to rescue as many as we can. At the moment we have two dogs that are mine. My daughters dog. A cat, two Indian ring neck parrots, one canary, and two guinea pigs. I’d love to be able to help more and hopefully in the future we’ll have more land and I’ll be able to.

KRL: Is there something people would be surprised to know about you? Any passionate causes or guilty pleasures?

Beth: Probably nothing that would surprise you, If you read my books you’ll probably guess I love animals, particularly dogs, but I’m also really passionate about equality in all areas of life. Nothing upsets me more than seeing a person or animal being treated badly because something about them is different to the person standing next to them. Guilty pleasures? I LOVE mint chocolate!

KRL: Ok, here’s something fun, Beth…Rapid Fire!

Ready! Set! Go!

Coffee or Tea? —Coffee, but I’m presently on a diet that restricts it. Argh!!!
Dog or Cat? —Both, but if I absolutely have to choose it’ll always be dogs.
Carnivore or Herbivore? —Herbivore. I’m not vegetarian, but I may as well be.
Pie or Cake? —Oh geez! These are hard questions. Okay – cake.
Picnic or 5-star Restaurant? —Definitely a picnic. I get really nervous in fancy restaurants.
Print/eBook or Audio version? —Print is my number one, but I love eBooks and my Kindle. I haven’t found a love of audio yet as I find my mind wanders far too much and I’ve missed what the narrator just said.
Theater or Wait for the DVD? —Theater. Hubby and I have date night most Friday nights and the movie theater is often our choice. We have a very exciting life, I know.
Favorite Actor? —Chris Hemsworth! He inspired my character of Riley in The Westport Mysteries.
Favorite Actress? —I’ll watch anything with Sandra Bullock in it, but I do love Melissa McCarthy. She always makes me laugh.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? —Neither. I’d always choose a good cup of coffee.
Beachfront Property or Cabin in the Woods? —Beachfront. I love that we live only a few minutes from the beach.
Active or Cuddling in a Comfy Chair? —I love the comfy chair, but I should really love being active more...hahaha.

Finish these sentences:
If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be...the Dalia Lama. Even though I would be so nervous I’d probably keep babbling when I was supposed to be quiet and peaceful lol

If I were stranded on an island, the three things I would make sure I had are...coffee, chocolate, and my dogs. Sorry family!

If I had one wish, it would be...This is corny, but I really do wish that people would just respect each other’s differences. The world would be such a beautiful place if we did.

KRL: This has been great connecting with you. We’ve covered so many topics and had some fun, too. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Beth: This has been fun! Thank you so much for having me here.

Thank you, Beth, for joining us and sharing a little about yourself and your books.

To enter to win an ebook copy of Fatal Break, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "break,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 14, 2019. If entering via comment please include your email address. 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 in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up this week.

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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. Love this cover!


  2. A lot of good mysteries set in Hawaii! Count me in!

  3. This is a new author to me. Would really like to read.

  4. Love this series! Kkcochran (at) hotmail dot com


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