Blog Archives

Snapshot Into a Killer’s Mind

Eli Pope is back with Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind: The true story of Billy Jay Cader, giving readers a new perspective into our main character’s life through the eyes of Amy Jo. The investigative reporter shows how Billy Jay became who he is today through her various interviews/snapshots. She humanizes our villain and demonstrates how a loving childhood could have changed the course of his life. We also get to know about Amy Jo’s childhood and her present-day life following her interviews with Billy Jay. If you love The Mason Jar Series, you have to pick up Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind!

As always, Pope delivers a stunning take on tragic events. The author dives right into the gritty details of Billy Jay’s story with a unique twist. We are essentially reading Amy Jo’s now published book as if we are living in the universe where The Mason Jar Series takes place.

I enjoyed the duality approach Pope took to demonstrate how love can make all the difference after living through a traumatic childhood. He always does a fantastic job discussing the plights of this world in a way anyone can understand, but so few people talk about.

The scene where Amy Jo goes to visit Billy Jay’s father felt so realistic and made my skin crawl. He captured his essence perfectly through his impeccable word choices. It was easy to visualize the aging abuser and the pathetic state he was in. I could feel Amy Jo’s disgust and fear the entire time.

While I enjoyed this novel just as much as the entire Mason Jar Series, I felt that some of the information we were given was repeated. We hear Amy Jo speak about many of the same sentiments and phrases throughout the story. Despite that, I still feel that this is a compelling psychological drama that explores humanity in the unique way that only Eli Pope can.

If you loved the previous books in The Mason Jar Series then you are sure to enjoy this one as well! It works as a short companion novel to the rest of the books. I look forward to the sixth installment and can’t wait to see what twist and turns Pope gives readers next. Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind: The true story of Billy Jay Cader is a must-read for lovers of dark psychological thrillers.

Buy Now From Amazon

The Mason Jar Was Like A Drug

Eli Pope
Eli Pope Author Interview

The Reclamation finds Billy Jay Cader on death row and organizing other inmates to take the judgment of others into their own hands. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Billy Jay is the kind of man that held absolutely no control over any aspect of his life as a young boy. Not until he took it upon himself to fight the struggles of survival, depending only on his own self, at age fourteen. From that point on, Billy Jay did not like to relinquish control of any situation he found himself in. This included being incarcerated. If he couldn’t control the guards, he knew he could control the inmates. His judgment on others was deeply ingrained within him. He felt it was his job almost and maybe facing his execution…his legacy too. Something he needed to pass on so it could live. He learned to enjoy it and probably at this point understood the power it had held over his poppa. The Mason jar was like a drug, it’s outcome the high or intoxication.

What were some aspects of Billy Jay Cader’s character that you wanted to explore in this book that wasn’t explored in other novels?

I think it would be the depth of commitment to judging others that he held. It never seemed to drift far from his psyche, no matter where he was or what level of life he was living. He couldn’t escape it. For a short time after meeting Cat, it seemed he’d outrun his devils…the drawl of being in control. I’ve not read a novel that showed the same kind of wrestling within oneself as Billy Jay’s struggles. The temptation to feel sorry for someone that keeps showing their dark side up and to a point that line is finally crossed. I wanted Amy Jo to be the polar opposite of Billy Jay yet somehow drawn into his magical control. It seemed like a great experiment to see if someone with similar experiences could connect and save him.

What kind of research do you undertake for your novels? Did you research any police procedures or the criminal justice system?

I admit that Google is my friend as a writer. You must be careful and of course not believe everything you find. I also have friends in law enforcement that I turn to and a fellow author friend who is a judge. This story also takes place from the beginning in the forties and up to now the mid-eighties. A lot has changed since this story takes place. It also takes place for the most part in a small southern gulf coastal Florida town. A one stoplight town with some characters who have worked themselves together in ways of leadership and trust. That is a scenario that will always bring interesting and thrilling stories.

What can readers expect in book 5 of the Mason Jar Series?

I’m going to reveal a little secret for what I am calling book 4.5 that will release hopefully in the first quarter of 2022. The new character introduced, Amy Jo Whitenhour, is the journalist writing her take from Billy’s point of view of his life. That story put together from what would be her interviews, will be book 4.5, and will even look as if she wrote it. The cover will bear her name and the story will be more of a novella size. Possibly a bit more than 40,000 words. It will fill in details of more depth and hopefully draw the reader more into the mind of Amy Jo. I believe she is a character that developed rather quickly and came natural to the story, so I’m hoping this next offering will get into the readers liking. At the end of her book, I will have a chapter or two preview of what I then will call book 5. Book five will close a lot of the cliffhangers and unknown and of course…hopefully draw the reader deeper into the web I hope to continue weaving.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Website

Billy Jay Cader has finally been caught and charged for two homicides of law enforcement officers. He’s been sped through the system and sentenced to the electric chair and now awaits his time on death row. He again falls back on the curse that his father passed to him. The Mason jar form of judgment and punishment. This time he has formed a group of fellow death row inmates who decide to take the judgment of other inmates into their own hands.
In the meantime, an investigative reporter begins interviewing Billy Jay Cader for a chance to tell his side of his story. She hopes to write a book from Billy Jay’s point of view.
The two seem to quickly form an odd kindred spirit with each other, one the ward doesn’t care for.
Sgt. Tony Rawlings, partner and close friend of a detective Billy Jay murdered, has suspicions of several young female victims who have been missing for years. He intends to unbury Mr. Cader’s past and insure he pays the price.
This story continues Billy Jay’s journey as things don’t always happen the way they appear they are heading.
Cliffhangers left open at the ending of book 3 are tied together as the dysfunction of the characters of Apalachicola, Florida continues on.

The Reclamation (The Mason Jar Series Book 4)

The Reclamation (The Mason Jar Series Book 4) by [Eli Pope]

The Mason Jar Series continues in The Reclamation by Eli Pope! Billy Jay Cader is rotting in jail awaiting his execution for the murders of two members of law enforcement. But just because he’s in prison doesn’t mean the cursed judgment game has ended. Billy forms a group of death row inmates who take the fate of other criminals into their own hands. While all of this is happening, a journalist interviews Billy for a tell-all book that explains how he became the monster he is today. As the journalist digs deeper into Billy’s childhood, we have to further question, is evil born or made?

Eli Pope has done it again! The Reclamation comes in as the fourth installment in the beloved but disturbing Mason Jar Series, and oh boy, was it a literary masterpiece! Billy Jay’s backstory left me emotionally ragged. And that’s because, like the journalist, we begin to sympathize with him. Despite his horrendous acts, you can’t help but feel that they all stem from his childhood trauma. But on the other side of the coin, we know that Billy Jay is a master manipulator. He may be trying to tell his story for the sole purpose of getting people to sympathize with him. That aspect of the story alone demonstrates Pope’s immense talent for capturing human emotion through the written word. It’s complex, with multiple layers; the story is never black and white. I also enjoyed the Ethan, Joyce, and Cali storyline.

What I enjoyed about the past books in this series were the mystery aspects. The constant questions of, “what happened,” “who did it,” “is this person who they say they are?” I received all of that and more with these side characters! And before I wrap up this review, I want to further commend Pope on his ability to weave such an intricate story. This is a psychological thriller with ambitious depth, complexity, and vividness that I find unique to Pope’s writing.

If you loved The Mason Jar Series thus far, you need to add The Reclamation to your TBR! Fans of mind mending thrillers and nail biting suspense will thoroughly enjoy this enthralling crime novel.

Pages: 252 | ASIN: B09HR5MSGC

Buy Now From B&N.com

An Explosive Read

Eli Pope

Eli Pope Author Interview

The Glass House dives deeper into Billy’s psyche where vengeance now motivates his actions. What are some sources that informed this novels development?

With the basic layout of how I wanted this story to progress and layout, the sources were what I was hoping lay deep in the readers psyche also. We all usually want either the bad guy to redeem himself in some way that lets us know we weren’t fooled by him all along, we saw some qualities that may just turn him. I wanted the reader to keep diving back in and out of seeing him as a bobber floating at the waters surface, constantly pulled under against his will and then released for air and the possibility of losing the devil inside him. There comes a point though, when the line that is drawn in the sand becomes too muddled and stirred so much there is no way sort out what is good from what is mostly bad. Billy Jay’s façade had to break and break big. I think he even was coming to the point he hated himself and was realizing his judgment was really looking in the mirror at himself. He hated what he saw and lashed out.

What were some new aspects of Billy’s character that were important for you to explore in this book?

That there is a point of almost no return. When things begin collapsing around him, he starts to understand he has crossed lines he can never uncross. I wanted to show that yes, he is human, he had a horrible upbringing without love, but one cannot use even a background as such, to continue justifying manic and crazy fits of rage that lead to murder and torturous aspects. Ethan is showing signs of the same path but from opposites spectrums of social and economical backgrounds.

What scene in the book was the most fun to write?

Actually, there are a couple. I did really enjoy the scenes in lockup where Darrell and Jay were forced to share a close area. It was fun twisting the reader one more time into despising Jay for his taunting of Darrell. The other scene is Ethan in Springfield, MO. A man who has designed his path in life to enjoy his wants and desires to their fullest at even his best friend’s expense. He has everything now that he has craved and spent so much time building—and he is foolish enough to go for the easy thrill and lose everything. He thinks he is infallible.

This is book three in The Mason Jar Series. What can readers expect in book four?

Book four carries a different tone from the onset. There is a new character who will either be involved in this series through it’s continued run, or, possibly a series of their own that runs parallel to The Mason Jar. There is of course far more twists and turns as things become revealed more and more in the main characters and side character plots. I hate to give anything away, but I do hope some readers find enjoyment in some danglers for books I call, 4.5 (a novella) that is a surprise book that appears to be written and published by the new character. It’s from the outside looking in prospective of Billy Jay Cader, and book 5 which promises to bring things closer to a close. I can’t say I’m done with the series at that point, because my head is still spinning developments I think the reader will enjoy and be shocked. I however, do not want this series to fizzle away from repeat twists or things that leave a reader unprovoked. I want to end this with the reader feeling their time was well spent and maybe still hungry for more at some point later on. Please stay tuned for now, though. The ride isn’t over just yet!

Author Links: Facebook | Amazon

This addition to The Mason Jar Series continues the ongoing saga of the Billy Jay Cader family. Book 3 takes a simmering pot of Billy Jay’s anger and psyche and twists the burner flame up to boil. Vengeance now dominates his thoughts and actions, bringing consequences he’d not yet thought through. Who will suffer at his hand? A sideline story takes hold between characters unknowingly connected with Billy Jay. Love and deceit begin to dance on the spider’s outer web, causing waves and drawing the spider’s attention. This story as it continues will suck you into that web of wonder, drawing you deeper into this southern coastal town’s secrets. Secrets that long to be solved and swept away to be forgotten. A back-swamp sheriff loses control of his town, a regional famous defense attorney who shares a dark past with Sheriff Burks, sees that forgone skeleton in his closet coming to light and taking away all he’s worked for. A woman once shared between them falls in love with no idea of the sorted past hidden from memory. Come watch as this story begins to come to a head much like a freight train steams toward the intersection…lights flashing and gates drawing down, but the car speeding ahead either believes it can escape the danger or is unaware of the peril ahead. This saga will make a looky-loo out of the staunchest reader that attempts to look the other way. The train wreck is gore beyond belief…but will force you to turn and face the scene. If you haven’t read The Judgment Game and The Spark of Wrath, you’ve missed the potatoes in the stew and gone straight for the meat with The Glass House. The entre is so much better and satisfying to the palette if the stew is complete when enjoying the meal. You’ll want to gobble this dinner down late into the night, keeping you up well past your bedtime. Book 4, The Reclamation is on its way soon. Early to mid-2022, with an added special offering entitled- Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind, to follow shortly after. You’ll want all five! This series does contain explicit language, adult content and is twisted together in an eclectic mix of mystery, thrills, love, murder, erotica, dysfunctional characters, and plain old “what the hell just happened.” interfused with an unusual melange of faith and hope.

The Glass House

The Glass House (The Mason Jar Series Book 3) by [Eli Pope]

The Cader saga continues in The Glass House by Eli Pope. In this third installment to The Mason Jar Series, we dive deeper into the twisted mind of Billy Jay Cader and the chaos he unleashes on the people around him. Following the events of the last installment, Jay and Darrell are sitting in a jail cell while this tragic story continues to unfold on the outside. The sky is the limit on the secrets that are hiding within the shadows of the small coastal town – what will the locals find out next? What will we find out next?

Pope has done it again! The third installment to the riveting Mason Jar Series did not disappoint. In fact, it was my favorite book out of the current three. There were many improvements to already wonderful aspects, including the pacing, character building, and more. I flew through this installment quicker than the previous two. I was enthralled from page one all the way to the end. Having Darrell and Jay in a confined space together really built the tension for me – it was a fantastic opening plot device by Pope.

Diving deeper into Jay’s psyche was a present I didn’t know I wanted. In The Glass House, we gain a deeper understanding of the thoughts behind Jay’s actions. Pope does an amazing job tackling the idea of a God complex. What is truly right? What is truly wrong? And how would someone so skewed themselves determine such things? That part was an absolute masterpiece.

I would have liked to see more discussion about Darrell and Mitzy in the opening chapters. That was such a captivating part of the story; I was constantly on edge to know more and didn’t get what I wanted until much later.

The Glass House by Eli Pope is a captivating psychodrama that will be thrilling for long time fans of the series and anyone else looking for a contemplative psychological thriller.

Pages: 259 | ASIN: B0924V898S

Buy Now From B&N.com

A Character’s Morals or Vices

Eli Pope
Eli Pope Author Interview

The Spark of Wrath continues the Cader family saga and the murder, lies, greed, and adultery, that comes with them. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?

As the saga continues, I wanted to concentrate on Jay’s younger son, Darrell, along with introducing some other characters into the saga. Like life in reality, the way people react to people along with circumstances they bring or cause, only add to the main characters of a story. I want the reader to feel like they themselves know each character to the point they begin assuming what will happen because of their connection to them. It adds to the excitement and mystery when things look one way but end up something totally unexpected.
The characters in your story continue to be fascinating and realistic.

What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?

When building characters in a saga, I believe it’s a bit different than a normal series or one-off novel. People who read this type of story, I believe want to go deep into the character’s mind. I wanted to introduce characters that brought new problems to the Caders and their acquaintances that have evolved throughout the story. Greed, sex, and power are some main reasons for people to either fight the urges to succumb or make the choices that have serious repercussions. Both physically and mentally. I love setting up challenges to a character’s morals or vices and then try to throw something unexpected to challenge the way the reader feels about them. In a thriller, my point is to lead the reader to one way of thinking, and twist their thoughts into another when the reaction wasn’t what they were certain it would be. Help them either like a character and then give them a reason to dislike them, or vice-versa.

What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writher with this book?

Honestly, I wanted to introduce the reader to situations or types of people that most of us never really know exist on a personal level. The effects those temptations can have on a neighbor or even someone they may know or work with, but be clueless of what that person keeps hidden from sight. I love surprise. I love reading it and I absolutely love when I can catch the reader off guard. The challenge I set myself up to, was to be able to keep pulling those twists consistently enough to force the reader to fall in love with the whole concept of choices and how they effect people or characters.

This is book two in The Mason Jar Series. What can readers expect in book three?

Definitely, more challenging twists and new characters as the story evolves. As long as the readers are enjoying it and the ideas keep from growing redundant, I intend to keep this series alive and exciting for the readers. I think I enjoy writing this more than the reader does reading. The late hours spent in this world as I write and then getting up early to dive back in, tells me there is something going on that is enticing in the Cader world down in a little town called Apalachicola, Fl. My only fear is that the next time I visit Apalachicola, they may ask me not to come back! I have painted it as a town with lots of dirty secrets back in the eighties!

I can say I’ve written four in the series so far and am about to release book three-The Glass House, hopefully in the end of June this year. My brilliant narrator, Paul J McSorley will have that manuscript in hand first of June to do his magic in adding a really totally different dimension to the books. He has signed on to produce them as long as I keep writing them! That thought alone keeps my brain wanting to continue dreaming up new and better sub-plots. If you have never listened to an Audible book, I suggest giving it a try. It really is totally different than reading a book. I enjoy both, but when I travel on the road, you can bet I’m listening to good exciting audio.

Author Links: Facebook | Amazon

The Spark of Wrath continues the saga of the dysfunctional Cader family. Darrell, the youngest son of Billy Jay Cader, is coming of age and tyring to accept his background of abuse. He’s tired of explaining his past and attempts of killing his poppa with his preacher’s shotgun. He’d merely wounded him along with his own pride and now the reality of his poppa getting away with murdering his only brother and leaving them on their own sparked the embers of hate inside him.
Could the new girl in school draw his internal attention away from his past and lead him down a different path? Or was the Cader family and those who surrounded them bound for more dysfunction and tragedy?
Climb aboard and be whisked back to a small Florida coastal town in the early eighties and see how Franklin County Florida as straight, flat, and open as it can be, can lead people on the most twisted and crooked path possible. Murder, lies, greed, adultery, and spiritual deception. The road t’s and as easy as the choices to make appears…the wrong turn is usually taken.
The Mason jar form of justice from book one-The Judgment Game…continues on.

The Spark of Wrath

THE SPARK OF WRATH (The Mason Jar Series Book 2) by [Eli Pope]

Eli Pope is back with the second installment in The Mason Jar series, The Spark of Wrath. In the second book, we continue to follow the Cader family saga. The youngest son of Billy Jay Cader, Darrell, is grappling with his abusive upbringing and becoming a young adult. The fact that Jay is back in town doesn’t make Darrell’s struggles any easier. As we watch Darrell try to come into his own and his father make more questionable decisions, we can only hope for the best outcome. Will things improve for the Caders’? Find out in The Spark of Wrath.

Once again, Pope did not disappoint in the slightest. He is a master when it comes to writing about human emotions and childhood trauma. He possesses a deep understanding of the human condition and consistently displays that in his work. First, let me start by saying how much I appreciated the well-developed side characters. Something many authors struggle to do is implement side characters that add value to their story. The interactions our main characters had with side characters like Chubbs, Kyle, Violet, and Joyce added a richness to the overall story.

I feel that Pope’s ability to write realistic neuro-divergent characters offers an educational lesson to his readers about some of the plights people in this world experience. In the story, we acknowledge Jay has a past that could make him behave the way he does – but his behavior is not excused. He is the perfect illustration of a narcissistic parent who cannot recognize his own wrongdoings, but everyone else around him does. He has an “I receive pain; I give pain” narrative. The execution of this part of the story was superb.

I enjoyed the role Mitzi B played within the story and felt that with some fine-tuning she could have been perfect. My problem with her character stems from the way she talks about boys and herself. The way she spoke sounded like what middle school boys think girls talk about when they have a slumber party. Other than the narrative voice of Mitzi B, this novel is perfect.

If you’re looking for a fantastic family saga series or a stirring psychological thriller, I can wholeheartedly recommend The Spark of Wrath and The Mason Jar series.

Pages: 250 | ASIN: B08YXF74WF

Buy Now From B&N.com

Into His Psyche

Eli Pope
Eli Pope Author Interview

The Judgment Game follows a boy who tries to escape a sadistic father while also struggling to escape his own demons. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Originally, I wrote this novel and it ended with a happy ending, everything with Jay was neatly tied into a happy bow of his character accepting Jesus as his savior.

A friend of mine suggested that becoming “saved” was rarely such a quick and instant fix. Often the one involved, especially one such as Jay’s character, regresses and battles with their acceptance of faith. She also suggested to make it into a saga or series because its thriller genre would probably grow my reader base.

I went back to the editing and rewriting phases and really connected deeper with the characters. I found the darkness of Jay’s world intriguing and wondered just how many lives were in the shadows of most us who never recognized their existence. I wanted to entertain but also cause the reader to become drawn in to subject matter such as drugs, homelessness, mental illness, faith, and dysfunction along with the way some might deal or react to these situations—from both sides of the coin. Viola. This story grew and has become much deeper and defined in the continuing saga of the Cader family.

Billy Jay Cader was an interesting character that I enjoyed watching slowly evolve. What were some driving ideals behind the character’s development?

This is partially explained in the above answer, but honestly, Jay was a character that began evolving on his own. My original thoughts of giving him more or less an instant cure was now dashed, so I needed to give him more depth and mystery to draw the reader into his psyche wanting to know more. I liked giving him some areas in the story that might push the reader into some form of compassion or understanding of him because of where he’d come from. I also wanted to twist that feeling back and forth where the reader was truly involved in the battle of which side would “win him over.” Good or evil. It’s really a battle each of us experience in different ways, hopefully not to the extent of Jay’s internal war.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Life in general and how people choose to deal with it. People come from every corner of wealth, poverty, love, and abuse, and I wanted to take different characters from those standards of living, and twist them into situations thrown together along with the possible outcomes from making their decisions, good or bad. Again, we all make choices and most of us surround ourselves with like-people and similar upbringings. What happens when one such as Ben, who was given everything in life, but still makes harsh choices and fails, yet still has the compassion for someone else enough to put his life on risk to help. The human conditions. That is what my focus was. To not only entertain, but maybe educate in some small way of a life that most of us never see, but could be going on even next door to us.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I actually have the second offering to this story completed and just recently sent to my narrator Paul J McSorely, who is the voice of Jay and all the other characters from my world. He’s been incredible to work with and I can’t picture anyone else making these characters come alive like Paul does. The Spark of Wrath, which is book 2, will be out middle of this April, 2021. I have book 3 written and it is in my wonderful editor’s hands currently. My hope is to have it published by November of this year. I am writing the fourth and fifth future offerings, simultaneously. I’ve come up with a neat idea to make this series just a little different than others. I can’t give that away, so readers will need to stay tuned in and read or listen to each book on Audible as I release them to find out. I am enjoying these characters and have no plans to retire this series any time soon. As long as this story stays fresh, I plan to continue on with new characters possibly branching out into sister series down the road.

I do have some other plans mixed in the pot of keeping creative change in my writing. Possibly a book of shorts in the future. My first novel was published in 2019 and was more of a Christian fiction with less language and adult situations within. It was written under my birth name Steven G Bassett. The title is The Waning Crescent, and is available on Amazon. I chose to write my darker themes, such as The Mason Jar Series, under my pen name Eli Pope so readers who read my first book wouldn’t purchase book one of this series expecting the same kind of content. I do share my faith throughout The Mason Jar Series, but it isn’t the intent to be preachy. This series is definitely on the dark side mixing mystery, murder, romance, erotica, dysfunction, and twisted thrills. Faith is merely is another facet in life and mixes well within the story of one man’s struggle dealing with his demons.

Author Links: Facebook | Eli Pope | Steven G Bassett | Website

Billy Jay Cader came from an abusive past. Self-preservation forced him to run away at the age of fourteen. His daddy was full of demons and played a sadistic game in a lottery-type punishment with his boy. When Billy Jay ran from his daddy, he hoped to outrun those demons as well. As time passed, he realized he hadn’t been able to flee fast enough to escape them. Now those mental monsters were tightly nestled within. He was the new vessel to carry his daddy’s wrath. This is the story of how that monster from his past propagated into Billy Jay’s psyche and took over, compelling him to become the next generation of evil. Billy Jay’s young sons, Billy James, and Darrell Lee were now the recipients of his wrath as his hopeless, drunken wife watched from a distance. The story begins from the early Cader family traditions and the morally depraved control that the game of the Mason Jar truly possesses. The twisted and deranged values of retribution for wrongs committed, through a game of chance. This series is the one to compel you to binge listen and then crave the next allocation to see where the madness takes you. Full of mystery, evil, twisted love, erotica, lies, and murder. Billy Jay Cader is pure evil incarnate, drawing a small forgotten coastal town along the Gulf of Florida, circa the 80’s, into the web of a sociopath on a journey to destruction. His own? Or everyone that he encounters? Buy a ticket and ride a rollercoaster of fear battling faith, the past conquering hope, and the unforgiving allure of a simple game constructed of wood squares and a glass Mason jar. A game capable of destroying lives with a simple shake and release of the small wooden punishment tile. THE MASON JAR SERIES written by ELI POPE Book 2 THE SPARK OF WRATH is com
%d bloggers like this: