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Scarecrow Has a Gun

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Overall i think this book delivers a good experience of what a psychological thriller is but sometimes it is really easy to see the clue and discovery what happens next. Sean works for this company that once in a while has a test that turns regular workers in prestigious people, all they have to do is pass the test to be able to talk to the big boss. Sean receives a box that read his memories and show them in a television. He needs to learn something from it to return to work and became glorious like all the others that succeed in the test.

I enjoyed how much we are into Sean's head, we get to feel his fellings through the words of the author sometimes. Once in a while I didn't see the point of the long memories that didn't get us anywhere.

I enjoyed the book and it was a quick read. Even having this long descriptions, the writing style works and in the end I was absorbed. Even when the book is really obvious in its choices I was interested in what comes next. I would read more from the same author.
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Sean comes into possession of a "memory box," and experimental device that hooks up to your brain and lets you see your memories on a tv screen. Hoping to find out what happened when his wife was murdered while he blacked out, Sean dives into his memories, with negative consequences for his girlfriend, young daughter, and teenage son. Since the box replays random memories, Sean finds that much of his life consists of mundane, forgettable actions that cause him to question what makes him happy. More seriously, he finds that many of his recollection of events don't line up with what actually happened. How much is his self-image based on faulty memories? Then he finds out the shocking truth of what happened to his wife. Unfortunately, the plot twists at the end lead to a rather abrupt conclusion that isn't as satisfying as it's meant to be. We're left hanging about how Sean deals with his psychological drama and repairs his relationships. Still, this is a fascinating, strange, sometimes bleak, and often thought-provoking novel. And Kozlowsky's use of the scene in The Wizard of Oz where Scarecrow has a gun is a great real-life example to get readers to question their own memories.
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"Life could not be accurately reproduced. Not in photographs, not on video, not in memory. Real life came around once, and we had to catch it while it was taking place; otherwise, it was distorted. We were distorted. The only truth was in the box."

Sean Whittlesea works in a company whose boss comes up with contests for widowed men, promising a life of fame and wealth to the winner. One day, Sean Whittlesea wins one of those contests, and is gifted the Memory Place, a box that will replay all your memories. Entrapped by its lure, a plaintive Sean pushes away his family to discover what happened to his wife.

Scarecrow Has a Gun is a superlative piece of work, with its foundation rooted in the psychological brittleness and malleability of memory. It brings out the critical truth of human existence. That human memory is unreliable. The details of it cannot be trusted. Humans tend to fill in the gaps in their memories with information which seems accurate to them. We shape our memories, minimize or multiply the damage they can do. Sean is sure his recollection of his own memories are more accurate than the ones displayed by the Memory Place, but he soon realizes that his own mind cannot be trusted to play a memory accurately. This theme of the book was my favorite.

The middle of the book got repetitive, but the ending did it justice. However, there was one plothole in the book I could not overlook. In the book's ending, Sean only gets rid of Mr. Ulger, but his assistant can always take his place. The objects in Mr. Ulger's office still exist. The other widowers with destructive gifts like the puppet pills are there as well. Sean's revenge could have been executed better, with Sean coming up with a plan to get rid of all the potential evil people existing within the company. Apart from that and Sean forgiving his not-so-good partner so easily, this book is the perfect blend of mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and psychological thriller.

Thanks to NetGalley, Imbrifex Books, and Michael Paul Kozlowsky for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Very interesting plot, didn't want to put it down. Lots of twists that kept you guessing. Futurist technology in a present day setting, if the machine were real I wouldn't want to be anywhere near it!
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Intriguing concept.   I didn't enjoy parts of this book but it made me think.    Are our memories really what happened?    Definitely worth reading, especially if you enjoy philosophy
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Disclosure: Imbrifex Books & NetGalley were kind enough to give me access to an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The synopsis for “Scarecrow Has A Gun” by Michael Paul Kozlowski drew me in and the book followed through with additional intrigue. It blends mystery and science fiction as we follow Sean Whittlesea many years after the death of his wife, an event that still haunts him despite, or perhaps because of, his lack of recollection of the night. Sean gets his hands on a machine that allows him to delve back into his past but this seems to raise more questions than it answers. The book explores the accuracy, or lack thereof, of our memories and posits some interesting questions. 

While the ideas behind the book are certainly intriguing, there were a few aspects of the writing that held back my overall reading experience. Firstly, I tend not to love the kind of overly descriptive writing that Kozlowski used in this book. I found myself questioning why tangential details were being described at great length which, while somewhat explained later on, did slow down the story. I also didn’t particularly like the fact that key messages were often spelled out in detail. That said, this emphasis may have been welcomed had I not already been familiar with the kind of concepts that were being spoken about. Finally, I think I would have been more invested in the story if the characters had been more fleshed out and their actions and relationships seemed a little more realistic. 

Overall, while I did feel some aspects could’ve been tightened up, the book was a fairly quick and easy read that highlighted some interesting notions about memory against the backdrop of a unique plot.
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The title alone was very intriguing! This was like an episode of Black Mirror. I really didn't feel for Sean and was frustrated by how he treated Haley and especially Lucy. However, that ending was so great! I really enjoyed this book and am so glad I had the opportunity to read it. I've already recommended it to people I know!
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Thank you so much to net galley for sending me a copy of this book! The.characters were very unlikab;e but the plot and everything was really good and that ending was amazing!
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Capturing your true past memories can be explosive and mind bending. The story is intensely felt as you journey into the memories of Sean's life using a 'black box' provided by his boss after winning a bizarre contest. The novel is well written with twists and turns along the way and a surprise ending. A great read for Science Fiction lovers and well worth five (5) stars.
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This book was great, the characters were well developed.  The plot was interesting. Highly recommend it.
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Scarecrow Has a Gun is a unique thriller with a futuristic twist that readers will enjoy.
Thank you Imbrifex Books for the advanced digital review copy.
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I received a ARC of this book in exchange for my thoughts and review.

★★★★ 4 nothing is real stars!
“... Know this! Nothing is how we remember it.”
Wow.

From the very moment this book opened with the Widower's Club and the mind games of Mr. Ulger I was hooked. My curiosity got the best of me and finished this in one sitting. I love a good misery, and even better I love a good emotionally-charged memory reliving.

Plot —
Sean Whittlesea won his last Widower's Club game. It's no secret that every victor from the games seemed to have progressed in some way, either by company ranking or fame or fortune, they've come ahead of the rest. The reward was promise to be life-changing. Sean's is the Memory Palace, a cutting edge futuristic black box that allow its holder to relive every moment of his/her life by displaying all of his memories on a screen. He has now in his very hands the answers to the big mysteries in his life, but the more he get his answers the more he questions everything.

Scarecrow Has A Gun came off as unexpectedly smart and very insightful read. I had not expect the thought-provoking undertone this one has. More to the point, it really made me think and question myself about my own memories and recollections. While I do believe that human memories are not reliable, this still makes me wonder about the extent in which our memories can be tainted. I must say though, the lengthy monologues of some of the characters can come off preachy at times but it was well-received on my end.

Just a few points:
1. Hayley - I can't feel her. I feel so little love between Sean and Hayley;
2. the mystery wasn't too hard guess but still it was satisfying when everything unraveled;
3. what even is the point of the widower's club? it'll be interesting to know the rest of the victors, how they turned out and things this club made possible;
4. I need more of Auntie Josie the hippie.

I'm not the biggest sci-fi reader however I do have a soft spot for memory reliving, live-overs, and time-loops. There is something about those that makes me sentimental and emotional. Suffice to say this hit me heavily. 

Thanks so much to Netgalley, Imbrifex Books, and Imbrifex Audio for the copy! I enjoyed this immensely. I was fortunate to be granted both the eARC and ALC so it's simultaneous reading and listening for me! Eh, that's just how I roll, lol. 

In other news, holy hellmuffin! First time listening to David Doersch, and this certainly won't be the last!

Narrated by: David Doersch
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This book was very interesting with the way everything played out. It’s different from a lot of stories and that’s what drew me into it. There was a mysterious element of wondering what really happened in real situations versus how your brain remembers things, watching it all back and having a struggle of second guessing everything you know and have gone through. Seeing it all in a new light. You become very immersed alongside Sean and wanting to know what really happened in the past but also how he is going to move forward in his future.
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I throughly enjoyed this book (also read it in one sitting) very well written and there were so many elements that left me speechless . The plot was very straightforward, although towards the middle it felt very slow paced and repetitive, I still very much enjoyed this read!! thank you Netgalley
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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC. Scarecrow Has a Gun by Michael Paul Kozlowsky is such a strange story. It follows Sean, who witnesses his wife's murder. While he continues to relive the trauma over and over, he cannot recall any detail surrounding it. Twenty years pass and Sean has moved on, he is married with children and wins a contest at work. His prize? A box called The Memory Palace, which ables a person to relive every memory. This sounds like it would be the answers Sean couldn't grasp all those years ago. But, The Memory Palace is all of his memories, is it too much reality? This book really has me thinking, which I loved. An interesting, yet decently realistic sci-fi story. I do recommend this book.
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Sean Whittlesea, who as a reward for winning a perverse contest organized by his boss, is gifted a black box that allows him to relive all of his past memories. With it, he hopes to uncover the truth of his wife's murder, which he witnessed, but of which he has no recollection. He risks what little stability he's found since his wife's death to discover what really happened, but how much of the truth does he really want to remember?

<i>Scarecrow Has a Gun</i> is a fast-paced read reminiscent of Blake Crouch, in that the sci-fi tech is the premise or locus of the story, but the events that unfold revolve around relationships and the consequences of the main character's actions. In my opinion, none of the characters were thoroughly developed, but the tension was strong and the story perfectly paced. I had a great time reading it and was able to finish it in just a couple of sittings.
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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for allowing to read an ARC of Scarecrow Has a Gun!

I really enjoyed this book! It was an idea I have never seen before in a book and I could really feel for the main character Sean as he went through the story. I thought I had the ending figured out and I was right, but for the wrong reason, if that makes sense. I have no complaints about this book.
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Thanks to NetGalley for the arc in return for an honest review.
The plot was interesting I just couldn't quite get into it.  I don't think this writing style was for me.
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The story line was captivating but I didn't enjoy all the flash backs and didn't think they were all relevant to the storyline. Definitely a depressing read in many ways. Not as captivating from the start as it could have been.
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Several years ago, Sean Whittlesea’s wife was murdered and ever since he has repressed the memory, the specific circumstances of her death a mystery. Although he has settled down in a new relationship with Hayley, with whom he raises their daughter and his son, he lives on the edge of depression as he tries constantly to recall what happened that night. 
 
Sean works for a man named Ulger, who periodically offers widowed men the chance to compete in challenges to win an unnamed prize; all that is known about the prize is that every man who has ever won has gone on to become rich and famous beyond their wildest dreams. This year, Sean finds himself the lucky winner and his prize is a small, black box-like contraption which attaches to his temples via two cords, and recalls to him in vivid detail all of his past memories, both notable and mundane. Believing that this box might be the key to remembering what occurred on the night of his wife’s death, Sean becomes obsessed with discovering how it works and how to navigate it to find that moment in time.
 
Scarecrow Has a Gun has a fantastic premise but doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be, so unfortunately I was disappointed and my expectations were not met. There were a lot of little unanswered questions and it all added up to not making a great deal of sense, which while in a SFF book might be excusable, this felt more like it just couldn’t be bothered to make itself make sense. For the most part, the science fiction element isn’t explored much at all, there is no real explanation about how the box works, what it is or how it would have served to make Sean rich and famous, as the memories only go backwards and provide no indication as to the future. It just exists as something that ‘is’ within this universe, which might work had this been established as common technology within the universe but it remains a mystery to almost everyone involved. While I generally enjoyed his writing style from the get-go, Kozlowsky’s prose is kept simple and easy to move through, this just felt uninspired, like he wanted to include a cool item without putting thought into it.
 
I did love the depiction of Sean’s growing obsession with the box, how it touched on the reality of how we become so focused on our past choices and how we paint ourselves in a better light when we look back to avoid the guilt that comes with knowing we are not perfect. It certainly left me questioning the moments in my own past that I don’t often think back to, and how honest I am with myself about what kind of person I have been and am right now.
 
I didn’t particularly like or find any of the characters compelling either, but I did get the impression a few times that this might have been deliberate. Sean was neglectful of his family, and spends far too much time mulling over his mundane memories. Frustratingly, we learn very little about Ulger, despite his potential to harness quite a unique position in this universe. There is also little to no mention of any of the previous winners of Ulger’s competitions, although I took this in part to be a representation of how the box consumes Sean, so too are we consumed in his story alone, forsaking the outside world as he does for so long.
 
This is definitely an interesting take on the idea of memories and how accurate our recollections are, and I did enjoy it for the most part, but I came out of it feeling like something was missing. I think it would have either done better as a shorter novella or as a longer novel that properly set up the world and the characters, because there was just too much filler and too many threads left loose.
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