globe and mail undercard review

The Globe and Mail reviewed Undercard along with five other thrillers in this article. What was thrilling for me was seeing my name and book in the paper. I would’ve been excited enough about that, but for the review to be so favourable, it was a special moment. “Albertyn is a writer to watch.” To see that written in Canada’s foremost newspaper was definitely a validating experience.

Here’s Margaret Cannon’s full review:

If I were to rank my favourite sports from one to 100, boxing would come in at about 512. The two men or women beating each other to a pulp is so far from my idea of entertainment that I managed to skip seeing Rocky for decades. So when I say that a mystery about boxing and boxers kept me reading intently, you know it has to be better than good. Undercard, a debut novel by Toronto author David Albertyn, is that book.

The setting is Las Vegas, and the centrepiece is a championship match at a glittering casino. The match will be broadcast live, attended by the rich and beautiful, and make fortunes for promoters and cable companies. Three local men are loosely involved: Tyron Shaw is a decorated Marine just returned after 11 years in assorted wars; Keenan Quinn is a Las Vegas cop who has just been acquitted in the death of a local black teenager; and Antoine Deco, a boxer and an ex-con.

At a family gathering to welcome him home, Tyron gets updates on his two childhood friends and old friends of his parents urge him to to lend his stature as a decorated war veteran to bolster the protests in support of his old pal. His other friend, Antoine, is on the undercard for the championship bout. Pals can get ringside seats. Tyron is urged to ask although he and Antoine haven’t been in contact. The entire story covers just 24 hours, including the the bout and the protest, and more than one murder. The action is fast, the dialogue crisp, and, while the end is a bit contrived, there’s a good tight plotline to follow. Albertyn is a writer to watch.