Set over the course of twenty-four exhilarating hours, Undercard is the story of four childhood friends, now in their early thirties, unexpectedly reunited by a high-profile prizefight in a Las Vegas casino … and an even higher-profile murder.
When Tyron Shaw returns to his hometown of Las Vegas after eleven years in the Marines, he’s surprised to discover that two of his best friends from childhood are all anyone is talking about: Antoine Deco, three years out of prison, hasn’t lost a boxing match since his release, and tonight is fighting in the undercard to the fight of the decade; and Keenan Quinn, a police officer who killed an unarmed teenager and escaped punishment from the courts, is the subject of a protest tomorrow morning.
Tyron has trouble reconciling either story with his memory of these men, and the situation escalates when he runs into the love of his life, Naomi Wilks, a retired WNBA player, basketball coach, and estranged wife of Keenan. As Tyron reconnects with his old community, he will learn over the next twenty-four hours that much has changed since he left Las Vegas … and there is much more that he never understood.
The Reef, an aquarium-themed casino and the hottest resort on the Strip, is the backdrop for this bullet-paced narrative, where loyalty to one’s friends, one’s family, and one’s community are ever at odds, and every choice has deadly repercussions.
Born in Durban, South Africa, David Albertyn immigrated to Canada with his family when he was ten years old. Since 2005, Albertyn has been a competitive tennis player and coach. A graduate of Queen’s University and the Humber School for Writers, Albertyn lives in Toronto. Undercard is his first novel.
“[David Albertyn] successfully generates a gritty, dark atmosphere in the novel that draws on the best elements of noir to keep readers edgy and absorbed.” — New York Journal of Books
“The action is fast, the dialogue crisp … Albertyn is a writer to watch.” — Globe and Mail
“A rich, exhilarating story … Albertyn creates a pressure-cooker scenario for his characters but manages amidst the adrenaline to bring out moments of insight and humanity.” — CrimeReads
“Fast-paced, fearless, and psychologically astute, Undercard is at once a terrific thriller and a sharp commentary on our turbulent times.” — David Bezmozgis, author of Immigrant City
“Undercard is a dizzying rollercoaster of suspenseand action that examines the complexities of brotherhood and the consequences of tragic masculinity. Albertyn’s pitch-perfect understanding of the bonds of friendship gives this novel a powerful emotional center. If The Hangover were a serious suspense novel, it would be Undercard.” — S. A. Cosby, author of Blacktop Wasteland
“An absolute knockout! Albertyn’s unforgettable voice transports readers to the underbelly of the Las Vegas boxing world, the dramatic ending a sucker punch that will leave you breathless. In Undercard, the emotional resonance, well-drawn characters, and seamless prose will keep you reading until well after the final bell. Best debut of the year.” — K. J. Howe, author of Skyjack
“A gutsy, intricate thriller as intense as it is clever, Undercard had me reading with the momentum of a house on fire.” — Donna Morrissey, author of The Fortunate Brother
“Gritty, dark, and cinematic, Undercard is as tough as the Nevada desert of its setting. As a diverse cast of characters struggle to find meaning in fractured lives and a fractured world,
Albertyn’s taut writing makes the pages fly by. The climax descends like a prize fighter’s knockout punch.” — Grace O’Connell, author of Be Ready for the Lightning
“Glossy tourist Las Vegas and the seedy underside of the city collide in a gritty story built on the backbone of a ticking clock. Dave Albertyn is a great new voice in fiction.” — John McMahon, author of The Good Detective
“Undercard contains all the sizzling energy and dramatic turns of a world-class prizefight — a fantastic debut from an author to watch.” — S. A. Lelchuk, author of Save Me from Dangerous Men
“With echoes of Sleepers and L.A. Confidential, Undercard delivers a hard-hitting thrill ride that delivers the sights and sounds of a title bout in the city that keeps the world’s secrets. Skillfully layering the stories of four memorable characters, Albertyn pushes each to the breaking point before delivering a powerful conclusion to the best and worst night of their lives.” — August Norman, author of Come and Get Me
“David Albertyn’s fast-paced thriller combines a dynamic plot and compelling characters to
deliver a one-two knockout punch. Undercard is not to be missed.” — Elena Taylor, author of All We Buried
“A taut, gripping novel, relentlessly paced over twenty-four hours. David Albertyn’s characters are complex, sympathetic, and realistically flawed. Undercard seizes you by the throat and refuses to let go. A stunning debut.” — K. P. Kyle, author of Sync
“Undercard’s characters will make you question the nature of brotherhood and loyalty — the action will make you want to finish it in one sitting. A superbly paced thriller with a knockout ending.” — Rick Treon, author of Deep Background
“Undercard unfurls through the course of one day and night … We watch the players converge, hurling their separate histories at each other. Childhood loyalties are tested by adult dilemmas. Adult failures and dreams play out amid a growing public protest movement and police subterfuge. Old grudges surface. New grudges form … Undercard is less about boxing and more about how the America we think we know is really upside down … Undercard certainly speaks to present-day American dilemmas.” — Internet Review of Books
“An impressive debut novel … one that whets the appetite for more.” — Crime Time
“A visceral no-holds-barred novel that’s as tight and strong as the bodies that populate it, [Undercard] grabs you from the get-go. It’s a compelling, character-driven tough-guy revenge story about life’s disappointments and the self-acceptance of being a bench starter … [Undercard] will leave you hoping there’s a sequel in the works.” — Minerva Reader