By Tara West
Blackstaff Press, stg£7.99
Set in contemporary Belfast, Fodder tells the story of Cookie, a 16-year-old boy who brings new depths of meaning to the word 'misfit'. Cookie is alienated from the hard men and boys of his Protestant area because he finds their mindless thuggery somewhat less than enchanting.
Furthermore, Cookie is the child of a single hippy parent who never actually appears in the book because she disappears before the action starts and, although her whereabouts are finally established, there is no heart-warming reunion.
There are punishment beatings, revenge attacks, and lots of drink and drugs involved in the story, and everyone seems to get at least one savage punch on the nose.
Whilst all the above may not sound like a non-stop laff riot, it is actually rather amusing in its many twists and turns. The story rattles along like an express train and Tara West is clearly an excellent writer. A deeply cool book for lovers of wild music, sex, violence, cannibalism, mental illness and car theft. Great stuff. Maurice Newman