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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Review: Chapel Street by Sean Paul Murphy

Chapel Street 
by Sean Paul Murphy

Thank you Touchpoint Press for this copy!

Publisher: TouchPoint Press
Publish Date: July 3, 2020
284 Pages
Genre: Horror

Rick Bakos never had a chance at happiness. After enduring the tragic death of his father in a car accident, Rick grew up to helplessly watch both his older brother Lenny and his mother Agnes succumb to madness and suicide. Nor were they the first members of his family to kill themselves. Suicide has steadily stalked the Bakos family since they first arrived in Baltimore from Bohemia at the turn of the 20th Century.

Turning to genealogy to better understand his self-destructive family, Rick works as a volunteer for the website RestingPlace. After photographing the grave of Betty Kostek for the webpage, Rick finds himself drawn into a maelstrom of horror. Each night he finds himself inexorably drawn closer to self-destruction.

Rick’s only ally is a fellow volunteer named Teri Poskocil. She, too, has fallen under the suicidal spell of the late Betty Kostek. The couple soon discovers their pairing wasn’t a coincidence. Their great-grandparents were next door neighbors on Chapel Street nearly a century earlier. So were Betty’s grandparents.

Together Rick and Teri must solve the mystery of Chapel Street before they find death at their own hands.

My Review:

I've always felt that writers have a tendency to bring something true to themselves into their work... and nothing is more true than it is for this author.  This book is loosely based on the author growing up in a haunted house while also living through suicides within his own family.  This caught my attention right away and I couldn't wait to see how this was explored.

The author brings us Rick Bakos, our MC, who has lived through a series of suicides within his family.  Through his hobby of genealogy and updating his website of graves, he ends up meeting Betty Kostek, whose grave haunts him from the get go.  From here we see the culmination of strange events that lead him to find odd coincidences and strange occurrences stemming from Chapel Street.  Oh Betty, you are doing a number on everyone.  Thank God (?) for Tombstone Teri, who curiously enough, has the same hobby as Rick.  Perhaps their fateful meeting and joint venture will get them to the otherside...

Full transparency, the first few chapters were a bit of a struggle to get through.  I almost considered DNFing it altogether.  But something compelled me to continue (was that you, Betty?!).  And I'm truly glad that I did.  Rick, the boring good guy, really worms his way into your heart and you're rooting for him throughout the read.  I did find some lulls within the read but overall, the book just gets better and better as you go... and quite frankly I loved it when Rick lost it a bit every once in a while... 😉.

I do wish that books wouldn't be compared to such big movies ... this one is "The Conjuring meets Hereditary".   This brings big expectations from the reader that might not be met.  Especially for two such big movies within the horror realm whether you loved or hated them.  I can see where the comparison is but hate that I had that in the back of my head the whole time.  

This is fantastic read if you love a demonic storyline that spans generations.  The gloomy, dark feels really resonate from these pages and I could absolutely see this adapted to film.  I look forward to seeing what else the author brings to us.


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