Print Matters: Undercard by David Albertyn

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.

Print Matters: Undercard by David Albertyn
Print Matters: Undercard by David Albertyn

About the Author

David Albertyn was born in Durban, South Africa in 1983. His father was involved in the anti-apartheid struggle, and for his efforts was served a banning order by the apartheid government for five years. From a young age David learned the importance of standing up to injustice even if you are not on the receiving end of that injustice.

When David was eight years old his next-door-neighbour was stabbed to death outside his front door. In the wake of the murder, his family immigrated to Toronto, Canada. They joined relatives there in 1993.

David began writing stories when he was six years old. In his final years in South Africa he was taken by Tolkien and Greek and Norse myths. In Canada he was introduced to Michael Crichton and Frank Herbert. David read, and re-read, these early influences voraciously, trying to emulate the thrills, wonder, and vast scope he experienced in these stories in his own writing. At Queen’s University, pursuing a Film Studies major, he enrolled in creative writing courses that significantly developed his writing ability. His writing was further developed in the Humber School for Writers’ Creative Writing program, where he received a Letter of Distinction. As an adult he was inspired by the content of works by Chinua Achebe and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, and the style of works by Hilary Mantel and JM Coetzee, while trying to maintain the entertaining, dynamic, and epic qualities of his earlier influences. David’s goal is to write visceral stories that are both thrilling and meaningful.

While writing was David’s first passion, sports was his second. He competed in a variety of them growing up, running being his primary focus. In university he switched from track and field to tennis, a sport he had always loved but had never pursued seriously. His day job since graduating university has been as a tennis coach, a profession he has grown to love.

The result of all David’s interests, influences and efforts is Undercard, which is infused with scrupulous research and the pulse of the times we live in. It immediately resonated with David’s Canadian publisher, House of Anansi, and went on to resonate with his international publishers, HarperCollins Germany and HarperCollins France, his World English audiobook publisher, Dreamscape Media, and the award-winning production company that optioned the film/TV rights, Shaftesbury.


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