Author’s Note: We were provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Plot & Storyline Quality (-1 points)
With a departure from screenwriting and a foray in fiction, Sean Paul Murphy is offering a standard Christian horror fare with Chapel Street. This novel tells the story of Rick, a man with little purpose in life other than uploading information about graves to an online platform that’s designed to aid people in learning more about relatives’ final resting places. Basically his entire family committed suicide due to some demon that’s obsessed with them. However, Rick suddenly finds himself going crazy just like all his relatives did before they ended it all. Then, he starts seeing dead family members and the evil spirit that’s trying to drive him crazy. Will be be able to withstand the onslaught?
The plot of Chapel Street is all over the map: when it’s not dumping tons of information on the reader, it’s fixated on unnecessarily edgy content. There’s far more telling than showing, which is typically what sets average novels apart from the best. However, this one dips below the middle mark due to its bizarre inclusions. The horror is just ridiculous and unrealistic, and storyline goes in endless circles. It feels like the same happenings are on repeat over and over again. Then, it all comes to a crashing conclusion that leaves little impact on the reader other than boredom or disgust. Due to its ridiculous horror elements and off-putting mentions, this section receives negative points.
Character Development (0 points)
Due to the rapid pace and chunky nature of the narrative, characters are completely left by the wayside. First-person point of view isn’t properly taken advantage of as the constant stream of information is a poor substitute for actual character building. This would have been correctly done via substantial dialogue and interactive conversations. When the characters don’t feel like real people, nothing worthwhile can be accomplished. Hence, with no real potential in this section, it receives no points.
Creativity & Originality (0 points)
Nothing about this novel sets it apart from the market. Christian horror is already a cheap idea in desperate need of innovation, but Chapel Street does nothing to change this image. Instead, it falls right into the same old stereotype and offers nothing new to interest readers. With no standout concepts to discuss, this aspect of the book also receives zero points.
Needless to say, Chapel Street should never be made into a movie in its current state. Sean Paul Murphy may have something to offer in future projects, but this effort is mostly embarrassing. Despite being based on true events, the novel feels slapped together and scribbled out just for the sake of it existing. All that can really be said is better luck next time.
Wish List Rating: -1 out of 10 points