Publication Date: 01/09/2022 ISBN: 9781782277545 Category:

After the Lights Go Out

John Vercher

Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication Date: 01/09/2022 ISBN: 9781782277545 Category:




How do you save yourself when you’re the person you trust least of all?

Xavier “Scarecrow” Wallace is a biracial Black MMA fighter on the wrong side of thirty, who is facing the comeback fight of his life. He is also losing his battle with pugilistic dementia – a struggle he can no longer deny.

In the nursing home of his father, a white man suffering from end-stage Alzheimer’s, Xavier witnesses shocking episodes that expose ugly truths about his past and his family.

And as the big fight draws near, a sparring session with a younger competitor goes horribly wrong, leaving Xavier faced with a dangerous dilemma: throw his match or suffer the deadly consequences.

After the Lights Go Out is a propulsive exploration of biracial identity, the price that athletes pay to entertain, and one man’s battle to reconcile his past – even when he can’t hold on to his present.

Publisher Review

'John Vercher writes like a fighter, a dancer, an athlete... Here is a novelist at the height of his power.' - Wiley Cash, author of A Land More Kind than Home 'Powerful, bruising and beautiful, After The Lights Go Out is a blistering story of love and loyalty, family, class and belonging. Those who haven't discovered John Vercher yet are seriously missing out. Outstanding.' - Chris Whitaker '[A] stunning, stone-cold knockout... Brutally elegant prose, jet fuel-like propulsiveness' - P. J. Vernon, author of Bath Haus 'John Vercher's latest is a spellbinding tour de force... I loved every moment of it, even the ones that broke my heart' - Lauren Wilkinson, author of American Spy 'Shrewd and explosive' -New York Times 'Riveting' -NPR's Fresh Air 'Left me breathless. A riveting portrait of masculinity, vulnerability and alienation, it couples propulsive action with an aching tenderness. So exquisite is the result, I would go as far as to say that John Vercher could well be the next Great American Novelist.' - Kia Abdullah 'Troubling, powerful, and ultimately, surprisingly, poignant.' Ben H. Winters, author of The Last Policeman '[A] gripping, tragic tale... deftly guiding the reader through the MMA world, the nuances of mixed-race identity, and the questionable allegiances that form when the world forces people to prove their own humanity' - Chris L Terry, author of Black Card **Praise for Three-Fifths** 'Vercher's searing first novel is set 25 years ago, but its subject couldn't be more timely... this mesmerising debut doesn't shy away' - Sunday Times Crime Book of the Month 'John Vercher has such love and compassion for his characters in Three-Fifths that I couldn't help but be sucked into their lives from the very first pages. It's so incredibly suspenseful that I was continually surprised by the story and deeply moved by the time I turned the last page' - Attica Locke 'John Vercher takes a timely, yet tragically timeless, cautionary tale and turns it into something so heartfelt, so frightening and dazzling that it sits easily alongside the best crime fiction novels I've read this year. Brutal and powerful, I adored it' - Chris Whitaker 'Shot, lucid and harrowing' - Observer, Thrillers of the Month

Find this book on the following lists

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations

  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible