The Sand Castle

Written by K. S. Hollenbeck
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

It’s the 1880s, and Flossie Abbot, a former actress in San Francisco, finds herself behind bars at the Gila Territorial Prison in Arizona Territory, fondly called The Sand Castle by the convicts. She is imprisoned for committing adultery, even though her husband killed her lover but did not face prosecution. She befriends Breen Dwyer, a guard who, unbeknownst to Flossie, has received a sum of money from outside the prison to help her. Flossie tries to survive imprisonment for a crime she did not commit until she discovers a way to escape.

This fast-paced Western novel exposes the terrible conditions suffered by the convicts as they try to survive the evil criminal Abe Kane or being locked in isolation in the Snake Pit. The author provides a gripping story of a corrupt prison where prisoners are treated horrendously by the guards. The secret relationship existing between Dwyer and an unknown person on the outside adds mystery to the tale. The author molds the characters through nightmarish scenes. Details about the prison and its surrounding landscape add color to the story.