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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Judgment Game is a work of fiction in the psychological thriller, crime, and horror subgenres, and was penned by author Eli Pope, with the audiobook version narrated by Paul J McSorley. The first book in the Mason Jar Series, this best suits the mature adult reading audience due to disturbing themes, references to abuse, violence, sexual references, and psychological horror. Our central protagonist is Billy Jay Cader, whose traumatic childhood has created inner demons and shadows of the mind that he cannot escape no matter how far he runs. The story follows this trauma and its effects as Billy Jay grows into a man, has sons of his own, and develops a deeper evil than even he thought possible.
In terms of the story itself, Eli Pope has crafted an incredible work that absorbed me for an entire night as I lost myself totally in the dark development of Billy Jay and his terrifying transformation. I was hooked by every twist and the progression of the story itself, taking us through different phases of Billy Jay’s transformation with an intelligent, empathetic, well-researched sense of human psychology. Although there are plenty of violent and shocking moments on the page, the true horror of the work comes from the terror of the human mind itself, and I really appreciated that.
As an audiobook, The Judgment Game is only enhanced by the incredible narration of Paul J McSorley. He captivates with his accent at once, creating a glorious atmosphere, and then you begin to hang on to every word with his clever sense of timing, knowing when to hold back on the most shocking and revealing moments for just that extra second. The editing was smooth and crisp, with a great variety to the voices of different characters. Overall, I would highly recommend The Judgment Game by Eli Pope, and especially this audiobook version, for readers seeking atmospheric psychological drama with strong horror twists.