Rival Within

Rival Within - S.J.D. Peterson To sum it up, I liked it a lot.

The characters are called Tom and Ben. Which is funny because in the movie Being Julia the woman spells T-O-M and B-E-N (which are the same person) several times. Nothing to do with the book but still.

Mmmm, let's begin with the setting. 50s.

A small town away from everything. I feel a weird attraction for this kind of story. Rustic environment always manages that. The chance of something important happening with few ingredients. Few characters. Few parallel conflicts. Few affectations. Focusing on the MC and letting all the "weigh" of the plot loaded on their shoulders. I like a line moving in a certain direction but I don't notice how much I miss a "plotless" story till I read one. I think those are the hardest to write and also one of my favorites.

It's not that Rival Within doesn't have a script. It does have one. It's just that very few times I feel like the total importance of the book is mostly due to the importance of the characters. I like to describe it as a theatre play, the actors are the ones who keep the story moving, not the atmosphere around them.

It all began with a storm.


Tom is a cop in Ramer. Tom has a wife and a son. Tom is in denial. There is a storm, the family flees and he meets a beautiful suspicious-looking stranger. No need to explain what happens next. Did I mention Tom is in denial? Well, that's the issue. In one moment he abruptly changes his mind and begins to come to terms with himself and God. But the rest of the people don't change that easily.


A little note to the author: please, why every time Ben or Tom licks a nipple the other one "receives the same treatment" with those same words? Please, be a little more innovator in the nipple licking matter or just in the sex department.


When I finished the book I was with the feeling there were lots of missing things. Loose ends. The story is quite simple and there is a sense of old-school style in it. I also felt there were facts that could have been taken more advantage of. Making a better use of the oranges to get more juice. It was a pity, I wanted to know more about Ben and about the family problems and about how Tom accepts his reality in a deeper way. Let's say the resolution of the conflicts are not chewed to mush but are left like whole pieces of food you can find easily in your plate. I don't usually like that and if you don't care about it I think you'll love this.