When a troubled advertising salesman loses his job, the fragile wall between his public and private personas comes tumbling down. Fleeing his debtors, Adam abandons his family and takes to sleeping rough in a local park, where a fraternity of homeless men befriend him.
As the months pass. Adam gradually learns to appreciate the tough new regime, until winter arrives early, threatening to turn his paradise into a nightmare.
Starving, exhausted and sick of the constant infighting. Adam decides to return to his family. The men, however, have other plans for him. With time running out, and the stakes raised unbearably high, Adam is forced to question whether any of us can truly escape the wildness within.
Welcome to my spot on the BLOG TOUR for Wild Life by Liam Brown, published in paperbook and ebook on 13 June 2016 by Legend Press and the author's second novel.
I read the whole of Wild Life in a couple of sittings. It's the sort of book that gave me that 'car accident' feeling; when you really know that you should look away, but you just can't help yourself from watching. I had a feeling of unease and strange anticipation as I turned the pages, and the author actually describes the feelings that I felt when he writes about Adam as he enters the woodland for the first time.
So, why was Adam in the woodland? What was he fleeing from, and how did he get there? To the onlooker, and indeed to his friends and family, Adam was a twenty-first century success story. He'd worked hard to make sure that everything he dreamt of when he was younger has come true; the big house, the flash car, the attractive wife and the two children. Adam's work consumed him, it was the centre of his being, and he was good at it. He was also good at the things that came with it; the drink, the drugs, the women.
When the economy crashed, so did Adam. It seems that he wasn't that important after all. Leaving the office with a cardboard box of belongings and a good pay off, he then went out and gambled the lot. After a heavy night of denial that involved vodka and cocaine and a knock-back from his young lover, Adam finds himself on the streets. His new sleeping companions are far and away from anyone he has ever spent time with before. But Adam kind of likes it.
Liam Brown has created an underworld of men; drop-outs, drunks, gamblers. Men who were all someone once, but now are nobodies. Lost and forgotten, except within their own circle, where human nature takes over, and there will always be a pack mentality, with the need for power and control. mixed up with a hint of madness.
Wild Life is unlike any story that I've read before. Unbelievable, yet totally realistic at the same time. It's almost a Lord of the Flies with adults instead of boys, it's dark and dangerous and unsettling, yet perfectly paced and very gripping. The men are perfectly drawn, not least Adam, who has reached the heights, felt the dizzying drop to the bottom and is slowly finding out so much about himself, and others.
Wild Life is a story of humans, and power and realisation. It is unsettling and brutal, but so honest. Liam Brown is a very talented and imaginative author.
My thanks to Legend Press who sent my review copy as part of the #Legend100 Club
After leaving school, Liam spent five years working a series of increasingly mundane jobs, including burger flipper, helium balloon pedlar, and a two-month stint manning the shooting alley at a travelling fairground.
After 18 months travelling and working in the Philippines, he returned to the UK and began writing stories.
Liam is the lead singer and guitarist in the band Freelance Mourners.
He lives in Birmingham with his wife and two children.
Follow Liam on Twitter at @LiamBrownWriter