The Young Desperados: An Ivory and Albert Novel

Written by Bill Brooks
Review by Xina Marie Uhl

Bosom buddies Ivory and Albert are teenaged cowpokes with a problem: their murdered friend Gus needs a casket. Preferably one with a little window in it. Since the two can’t afford such an extravagance, they decide to earn the money by tracking down an outlaw kidnapper, his gang, and the banker’s wife they kidnapped. As they do so, the two run into a number of troubles, including bandits and Indian raiders. All the while they carry on long, drawling, but amusing conversations about life’s conundrums. The interactions that Albert and Ivory have with the various quirky characters (some famous, some not) that inhabit the Old West make up the meat of the tale.

Ivory, in a fine bit of irony, is black, a refreshing change from the protagonists in most westerns. We readers get to know him well since he narrates the story in the first person. The book’s subtitle (“An Ivory and Albert Novel”) makes it sound like it’s the first of a new series. The length, subject matter, and style make this a solid choice for young adult readers and others who enjoy a light-hearted look at the Old West.