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Side by Side Reviews: CHAPEL STREET by Sean Paul Murphy

Sean Paul Murphy
Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Chandra's 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.

 

★★★☆

You can find Chandra on social media!
@wherethereadergrows on Instagram

Beth's Review:

”Chapel Street” is part of a paranormal thriller series based on true experiences from the author’s childhood. This was enough to hook me in and agree to review the book. It is set in Baltimore, so a lot of their surroundings were familiar to me! I rate this book 4⭐️. Let’s talk about what made this such an excellent story.


The main character in “Chapel Street” is Rick Bakos. Rick says things like “her hair smelled great” and “yikes”. I found that slightly unrealistic and annoying until i remembered Rick had a boring job as a clerk in a hospital and took pictures of gravestones as a hobby. The man wears Hawaiian shirts. It clicked. We all know a Rick....he is that nice, well meaning, but boring guy. We want the best for Rick. He’s been through a lot and he’s doing the best he can. One day his (kinda morbid but seemingly harmless) hobby uncovers a mystery. A mystery that involves his family and a couple of other families from several generations ago. Is it a curse? If it is, will Rick survive to break it?


There are a lot of religious themes in this book. Oh hush, I hear your grumbling. I have read a LOT of religious horror books, so I feel confident putting this into that category and I also feel confident saying it is an excellent example of it. If you believe it is possible to have demonic activity, then you must believe in the flip side too. Even if you just believe in demons for the sake of the story, you must allow that God is the only valid counter-attack. Rick is an agnostic at the beginning of the story. He is not John the Baptist by the end of the story, but he has to begrudgingly admit that the word of God was the only tool effective against the forces trying to kill him. I think this is a very reasonable take on it. I also appreciate the author’s realistic writing when the characters are in a tight spot. I have read religious horror where characters react to being chased by a chainsaw wielding madman with a darn it or shucks. There are excellent examples, such as “The Exorcist” or “Legion” or now... “Chapel Street”!

Beth Griffith lives in Maryland with her husband, three children and a pathetically small herd of cats. She enjoys reading smut and gardening. You can watch saucy smut reviews, read salty book reviews and keep tabs on her questionable life choices on Instagram @mrsbeverlygibbs


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