Review: Player vs. Player by Amelia C. Gormley

December 11, 2014 Review 3

Review: Player vs. Player by Amelia C. Gormley

Pushing for change can be dangerous when change starts pushing back.


Video game writer Niles River loves the work he does at Third Wave Studios: creating games with mass appeal that feature women, people of color, and LGBTQ characters. To make his job even better, his best friend is his boss, and his twin brother works beside him. And they mostly agree that being on the forefront of social change is worth dealing with trollish vitriol—Niles is more worried about his clingy ex and their closeted intern’s crush on his brother than he is about internet harassment.

But now the bodies on the ground are no longer virtual, and someone’s started hand-delivering threats to Niles’s door. The vendetta against Third Wave has escalated, and to make matters worse, the investigating detective is an old flame who left Niles heartbroken for a life in the closet.

No change happens without pain, but can Niles justify continuing on with Third Wave when the cost is the blood of others? If he does, the last scene he writes may be his own death.


Title: Player vs Player
Author: Amelia C Gormley
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Saugatuck Summer, Unconditional Surrender, Strain
Published by Riptide Publishing
Source: Publisher
Published: December 8, 2014
Genres: Crime Drama, Suspense
Pages: 282
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Visit the Author's Website

Stars: four-stars
Flames: three-flames

My daughter is a gamer.  I sometimes think she spends way too much time on the computer playing her games.  Seems all her friends are there.  She doesn’t seem to have many “real world” friends.  But, she tells me, it is her coping mechanism and since I spend just as much time buried in my make believe world of books, who am I to say otherwise?  So I sit, glassy eyed, as she goes on and on and on and on about what is happening in the guild or with her character when we are together.  Consequently, when I saw this, I thought why not.  It might give me a different perspective and insight.

I even discussed the book with my daughter, but the conversation didn’t go quite the way I thought it might.  According to her, the bigotry and harassment discussed in this book is ten years old.  She doesn’t see it much anymore, in the games.  However, what we know about the “glass ceiling,” and general bigotry and intolerance in the real world, we could see the events in this story happening.

In reading this book, I do have a better understanding of the gaming culture.  For instance, I didn’t know I was an unusual parent in that, not only did/do I know about her gaming and the characters she plays, but I know the names of her “friends” and guild mates – by both their player name and, sometimes their real world name – in spite of the fact I am in no way a gamer.  I was appalled to read that the parents of the victims in this story had no idea what their kids did on the computer.  Was that poetic license on the part of the author, or real world?  Considering that the author spent time letting us know that some of the things discussed in this book was based on real world events, I am left wondering.

Now all this personal stuff aside, as you can see, the book did spark some thoughts, in my mind, to think about, as well as being a rather good murder mystery.  It further discussed the whole video/computer games have undue influence on today’s youth controversy.    The pros and the cons.  I do have my own thoughts on that, but this is not the forum to discuss that.  Suffice it to say, I was impressed with how this author incorporated such controversial hot buttons into a gripping and entertaining story.

This story had murder, stalking, betrayal, good friends – old and new, romance, hot twins, hot cops, all the elements of a good story.  I really didn’t want to put it down for things like sleep, but couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.  In some spots the soap box took over a bit too much, but not enough to throw me from the story.  There was gaming, suspense, action, multiple visits to the hospital, angst, excitement, hot sex, and cuddles all done with good pacing.

In my humble opinion, like Rose, Niles, Jordan, and all the staff of Third Wave gaming studios, participate – read the book.  Everyone!  It just might influence some change, acceptance and tolerance.  Okay, I need to step off my soap box.

This is an entertaining read with a wonderful story.  Give it a try!

Romance Review Riptide

Hi and welcome to the Player vs. Player blog tour!

Player vs. Player marks my first attempt at writing a whodunit, which was a bit of a scary endeavor. I’ve always been better at stories that are about character growth and exploration, of taking a character and putting them in a situation and then sitting back and watching the evolution of that character as they work their way out the other side. PvP was a much different experience, and something which took me outside my authorly comfort-zone.

Writing Player vs. Player also gave me an opportunity to combine four things I’m deeply enthusiastic about: gaming, fandom, activism, and of course, LGBT romance. I’ve been a gamer since early childhood, back when Atari had just released their first consoles. My teenage years were marked by NES and Sega, and early adulthood saw the transfer of my gaming allegiance to PC gaming.

It was because of my involvement in the fandom for Bioware’s Dragon Age franchise that I began writing m/m romance, and I eventually published courtesy of the encouragement I received from a friend I made through that fandom.

It’s also Dragon Age fandom that opened my eyes to some of the toxic undercurrents in gaming and geek culture. I had, of course, been witness to the casual misogyny and homophobia within gaming culture at various times, but until I witnessed the vitriolic free-for-all against former Bioware writer Jennifer Hepler, and then the attacks on feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian. It brought to my attention the subject of convention harassment and the Fake Geek Girl trope that is used to marginalize and invalidate the presence of women in fandom.

So when the idea occurred to me to write a book bringing all these things together, both acknowledging my roots as an author and a gamer, I had to take it. I know that the LGBT romance audience is full of other people who have experienced marginalization, misogyny, homophobia, racism, negative stereotyping, and inadequate positive representation in geek and fan culture (which by all means are not issues limited to gaming.)  And I know we’ve all been witness to, and maybe even targets of, the toxic backlash that comes of speaking up and trying to change that culture.

This book is for all of us. It’s for the critics who have been driven from their homes and forced into silence by threats of violence. It’s for the cosplayers who have been groped and assaulted without their consent. It’s for the LGBTQ/POC/female geeks who have heard casual slurs in fan spaces that left them feeling alienated and unwelcome. And it’s for the people pushing to change that culture, and to make geekdom something inclusive for all of us.


Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else.

Her self-published novel-in-three-parts, Impulse (Inertia, Book One; Acceleration, Book Two; and Velocity, Book Three) can be found at most major online book retailers, and be sure to check Riptide for her latest releases, including her Highland historical, The Laird’s Forbidden Lover, the The Professor’s Rule series of erotic novelettes (co-written with Heidi Belleau), the post-apocalyptic romance, Strain, her New Adult contemporary, Saugatuck Summer, and of course, Player vs. Player, available now. She is presently at work on two more novels set in the Strain universe, Juggernaut and Bane, coming summer/fall of 2015.

You can contact Amelia on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, BookLikes, Tumblr, or contact her by email using the form at

3 Responses to “Review: Player vs. Player by Amelia C. Gormley”

  1. Barbra

    I’ve read several good reviews for this book. It sounds like a winner. 🙂

  2. Amelia C. Gormley

    Hi all and thank you for following along on the book tour!

    Pansy, it’s interesting that your daughter thinks these issues are problems of the past in gaming. The recent events concerning GamerGate and the fact that in the last few months, several female game developers and feminist game critics have been driven from their homes due to doxxing and threats (not to mention a school massacre threatened at Utah State University if Anita Sarkeesian gave her scheduled lecture) shows us just how current and relevant these issues truly are. But I’m grateful your daughter hasn’t had to deal with any of that in her gaming experiences.

    I apologize for the delay in responding; things got a little crazy in my life last week when, among other things, my husband lost his job. I will be notifying the winner of the drawing shortly. Thank you!