“Malibu Rising” versus “Dark Justice”

Just for “shits and giggles,” as we used to say in the Navy, I want to compare historical novel descriptions. In this case, it’s the wildly popular novel, Malibu Rising, with my own novel, much less popular (because it’s about the issue of abortion) historical novel Dark Justice.
Here’s the description of “Malibu Barbie, I mean, Rising”:
Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.
The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.
Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.
And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.
By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come rising to the surface.
Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.
Here’s the description of my historical mystery, Dark Justice:
Dark Justice Book Cover
When Abortion was Against the Law, Attorney Clara Foltz Confronts the Establishment
In the fifth mystery of the Portia of the Pacific series, Attorney and Detective Clara Shortridge Foltz and her partner, Attorney Laura de Force Gordon, become involved in two trials. One, an administrative case, Clara defends the accused, an abortifacient merchant, who is allegedly the incestuous father of a child by his sixteen-year-old daughter, who dies during an abortion attempt.
But since this is 1887, no criminal charges can be made on the father, so the San Francisco police go after the midwife, a Chinese-American who treated the deceased, a half-Navajo girl, with acupuncture. Clara and Laura call in witnesses from the past, including a Medicine Man from the victim’s mother’s tribe in the Arizona Territory, the famous Claflin sisters, suffragists who live in England, and the State Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Junior.
The supernatural curse of the tribe’s Skinwalker witches, in the form of a coyote, which allegedly can run on two legs like a man, and the strange practices of the Navaho Medicine man and his deaf assistant, cause this mystery to evolve into a much bigger conundrum than merely that of abortion. The search for truth will end on the Navaho Nation’s land, under less than ideal circumstances.
For my personal opinion, my thirteen-year-old self would immediately choose the first book. Why? Because it might contain some sex scenes that I could masturbate over. Sorry, that’s an honest answer.
However, my college-age self would choose the second book (if I didn’t know the authors). Another honest answer.
Oh. “Malibu Rising” is 384 pages. “Dark Justice” is 177 pages.

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