Chelsea Avenue by Armand Rosamilia

On July 8th 1987, in Long Branch, New Jersey, The Haunted House Pier and Murphy’s Law club fires destroyed not only local landmarks, but everything Manny Santiago found dear.

And it isn’t over.

The entity responsible for killing Manny’s family and wreaking devastation in the small seaside community has reappeared. Again. As it has every year since. And is growing in power.

Every July 8th it returns, as survivors of the fires, including Manny, are mysteriously led back to the now-vacant seaside lot on Chelsea Avenue, where the entity intends to finish what it started in 1987 once and for all. (Book description from Goodreads.)

If you had asked me two years  ago if I were a horror fan I would have probably told you no, but over the course of those two years I have been reading more and more horror fiction.  When I had to the opportunity to review a new horror novel from Ragnarok Publications, purveyor of all things dark and fantastic, I jumped at the chance.  I was certainly not disappointed.

Manny Santiago lost his parents on July 8th, 1987, his birthday,  in a fire that destroyed his parents club, Murphy’s Law, on Chelsea Avenue. The fire claimed many lives and the town of  Long Branch is never the same.  The survivors of the fire are not safe as they have been “marked” and return to the site each year on the anniversary of the fire only to meet their doom.

Armand Rosamilia weaves a dark, and horrific tale.  I enjoyed the way the book was written, each chapter representing a year and set on the July 8th, the date of the fire.  After a few chapters the hook was really set and each subsequent chapter pulled me further and further into the story. Watching Manny’s slow decline year by year filled me with dread, as much so as the terrifying entity that was drawing people to their death each year. Rosamilia captures the essence of what a true horror story is to me, ancient and evil forces are at work and there is nothing that can be done to stop it.  That feeling of helplessness is what really scares me and that feeling is prevalent throughout the entire book.  The reader is inexorably pulled along with Manny and the survivors of that fateful night to a horrific climax.

I really enjoyed Chelsea Avenue and Rosamilia brings the landscape to life.  I could smell the salty air and the stink of stagnant water.  I would visualize the desolate ruin of the strip of land where Murphy’s Law once stood.  These wonderful visual effects added extra punch to the story and held me fast, turning page after page late into the night.  The icing on the cake was the amazing cover art by the talented Shawn King.  I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy a good horror story.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Ragnarok Publications, in return for an honest review.

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