The Tooth Fairy - Graham Joyce Graham Joyce surely is one of the most underrated this possibly because he is so hard to market? Is he horror? Is he fantasy? Or possibly `social surrealism'...?

What ever he is his stories are strange, magical and original and he fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

He likes to instill in the reader a feeling of lingering uneasiness …. ‘You come away from the book feeling your perception of the world has been just been knock slightly askew away from what you previously thought to be normal’ Graham refuses to come down on one side or the other of the ideas he presents in his novel, it is all about ambiguity and uncertainty

Sam, Clive and Terry are ordinary (ish) boys growing up in the 1960s until one day when Clive punches Sam in the mouth and knocks out a tooth. …Sam puts the tooth under his pillow at bedtime…as you do

He wakes up during the night and first lays eyes on the Tooth Fairy “oddly dressed and smelling of horse’s sweat and chamomile”.

Tinkerbelle this Fairy is not …it is an angry, bitter and viscous looking creature from nightmare.

Thus begins a strange, disturbing sometimes touching relationship with the Tooth Fairy as it dogs Sam’s footsteps through childhood and into adolescence.

The Tooth Fairy, whose appearance, mood and sex change constantly makes for a rather unpredictable, mercurial companion - sometimes protecting Sam other times tormenting him, bullying and threatening him and his family. The Fairy is a character in its own right with its own moods and emotions, jealously, lust, spite, anger and touching moments of tenderness. The author skilfully coveys the wild, unpredictable primeval nature of the Tooth Fairy.

Without the supernatural element, the adolescent adventures of Sam and his friends would have made a brilliantly funny ‘rites of passage’ novel…all petty vandalism (though making pipe bombs in your Dad’s shed is hardly petty), growing pains and awakening sexuality.

The novel is brilliantly structured, well characterised and entirely compelling and the elegant writing at times is almost prose with a whimsical and nostalgic tone.

This novel shows that horror fiction doesn’t not have to be high octane ‘gore splatter’ serial killing zombies but that it can be beautiful, compulsive, hilarious, tragic, magical and very, very funny …oh very, very rude!