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Chapel Street by Sean Paul Murphy Review

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Chapel Street is a horror novel written by Sean Paul Murphy and was published in July of 2020. 




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.


This book was inspired by real life events the author experienced.  There is some information online that he has posted about it, but I'm only reviewing this book as a stand alone story.  I have not read more into the backstory and his experiences.

What I Liked:

  • There are some new ideas presented here that had potential.
  • It handles difficult topics pretty respectfully.
  • It's fast paced.
  • The characters investigate past events that were interesting and engaging.

What I Didn't Like:

  • The main character is unlikable.
  • Acronyms like WTF are used several times unironically.
  • The new ideas mentioned earlier are not executed well.  Especially a romance that develops but feels forced.
  • It's not scary.

Final Thoughts and Rating:

I had high hopes for this one, because there were comparisons a movie I really enjoy on the cover (Hereditary) but I came away disappointed.  There's something I call the Cloverfield Effect.  In the movie Cloverfield many of the characters were so pretentious and unlikable that I was rooting for the monster.  The same thing happened here, he is hard to root for.  I'm a huge fan of grey characters and anti-hero's but if that was the goal it was not executed well.  The history of the villain had potential, but in execution was not scary and felt silly. 

I'm going to rate Chapel Street 2 stars out of 5.




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