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Published on Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Snake Den

By Chuck Tyrell

Reviewed by Matthew Pizzolato


THE SNAKE DEN by Chuck Tyrell is not your typical Western novel. It's ground breaking and provocative and unlike any Western I've ever read. Although the events in the story transpire in Arizona during 1882, almost the entire novel is set inside of Yuma Territorial Prison.

The story's 14 year old protagonist, Shawn Brodie, is falsely accused of cattle theft and sentenced to three years inside the hellhole known as Yuma.

However, the prison has a secret. Inside a dark cave on the prison grounds is a box made of iron straps where prisoners sentenced to solitary are sent. Rats live inside the cave preying upon crumbs that some of the prisoners drop, and rattlesnakes prey upon both rats and prisoners.

    The Snake Den by Chuck Tyrell

THE SNAKE DEN is based on true events. It is an inspiring coming of age story. Shawn Brodie enters prison and boy and emerges from his ordeal as a man.

The writing is so well done that the reader becomes absorbed by the story and hardly notices the words on the page. This is such a griping tale that I would recommend that you don't start it unless you have enough time to read it in its entirety. I read the entire novel in one sitting.

It's obvious from the ending that Tyrell plans more stories with his young protagonist, Shawn Brodie, and I for one am looking forward to the next story. I'd never read a Chuck Tyrell novel until reading THE SNAKE DEN and I will definitely be investing in more of his work.

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