Cover Image: Scarecrow Has a Gun

Scarecrow Has a Gun

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Member Reviews

I liked the idea of having access to a memory palace and using it to remember things that have been forgotten. Sherlock Holmes came to mind and the brilliance he is able to pull off with his. Scarecrow Has A Gun was an odd enough title to interest me in the plot and how the author might use this concept.

The beginning of the book threw me off; it was unexpected and unbelievable to me. Maybe that was the point because the protagonist’s memory wasn’t the most reliable. I found that I could not relate to him and his logic was so foreign to me that I didn’t really like him.

The plot was interesting enough to keep me reading to see what would happen with memory and how it is experienced. The whole ‘can we ever truly know what we’ve experienced and the lack of control we have over it because of how the brain works’ narrative didn’t cover any new material.

The book didn’t stick to exploring behavioral psychology and metaphysics. It instead moved on to the isolation, alienation, and mental breakdown Sean experienced as he spent more and more time spelunking in the deep, dark corners of his brain.

As the story wrapped up I didn’t feel any better about it. Revenge to some brings a sense of satisfaction and resolution. But that’s hard to believe when a person has lost so much in a horrible way for no reason other than the amusement of another.

Thanks to NetGalley and Imbrifex Books for an ARC of this book.

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What happens when your memories aren’t what you expect them to be? How do you react? Are accurate memories any better than the editorialized? What is the past when it continues to live with us?

This book explores the nature of reality and our memories and how both make us who we are today.

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2.5 stars, rounded down
I wanted to like this book so much. The premise is great and there are so many insightful and intriguing thoughts about memory. However, for me, it just didn't get there in a clear enough way to make the book relatable or exciting enough.

Sean's wife was murdered many years before, but he received a head injury at the same time so he has been unable to remember what happened to her and it haunts him. Through his job, he's offered a strange but unique opportunity to possess "The Memory Palace" and view his memories on a television screen, and he is hoping to see what happened to his wife. Yet the more he watches his memories (which appear at random) the more he comes to realize that either they've been tampered with, or that his memory is fallible and he isn't remembering things correctly.

If the book was a bit more straightforward and if Sean was more likable, I would have connected with the experience. But as it is, Sean gets so immersed in the memories that he neglects his actual life, and this seemed to be the case before he even got the Memory Palace. The ending does clear everything up and has decent closure, but I didn't have buy in to the explanation at all and it felt rushed and contrived. There are quite a few things brought up in the course of the book that are never fully explored (like what was up with the boss and his altered appearance?) yet we are treated to endless examination of the nature of memory in different people and how we can cause altered memories in others, etc.

I have see other reviews saying that this would have been much better as a short story and I definitely agree. I can see this as a Twilight Zone-esque story, but only if the extra randomness is left out.

If you like sci-fi with some mystery and can stand slogging through a lot of filler, then you might join the others who have enjoyed it.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

I listened to this book partially as an audiobook, and the narrator was good and kept me invested in the story.

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Previously published using a pseudonym, Michael Paul Kozlowsky’s latest book is Scarecrow Has a Gun. It begins somewhat peculiarly with a company CEO inviting his widowed workers to his office to partake in a contest to suicide. Eventually, Sean wins a different contest and his prize is a black box called the Memory Palace that enables a person’s memories to be seen on a television screen. As he becomes addicted to processing his lost recollections of how his wife’s murder unfolded, Sean becomes increasingly estranged from his family. He becomes so enraptured in his new world of the past that it endangers his own life. An enjoyable concept for a tale that could have been so much more, somewhat disappointing and so a three star read rating. With thanks to Imbrifex Books and the author, for an uncorrected advanced reader copy for review purposes. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own and freely given.

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Unfortunately, I struggled with this one. I really wanted to like this book as I thought the premise was unique. However, it did not hold up to my expectations. I got a little lost in all the minutia and was bored.

The narration held up well although it felt a bit noir for this type of book.

*Thank you NetGalley for advanced copy*

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There is a theory, unwavering for many, that in a single frame of The Wizard Of Oz, the scarecrow has a gun. It’s the nebulous grasp we have on perception this illustrates that forms one of the key bedrocks of this complex and intriguing book. The other key is memory…

Sean was there when his wife was murdered but is tormented by the fact that he cannot recollect a single detail of how it happened. Nearly two decades later, just as his life is back on track, he is involuntarily awarded membership into a bizarre group of widowers assembled by his eccentric boss. Where at each meeting they receive challenges, sometimes odd and unsettling, sometimes deadly.

At the latest the prize is the Memory Palace, a box that allows its possessor to relive every moment they have ever experienced, all playing out on screen. When Sean wins, he becomes obsessed with plugging in, sure that all the answers are in there. What he finds instead are more questions.

Are you yourself? Or a variation, an imposter? Do we look at photographs and create moments to go along with them in our mind?

While brilliant and impressive, this book is not in the least tranquil, ceasely flaunting the lies that we tell, even those we tell ourselves. And how we tend to manipulate our own memories to fit a narrative of our own design. This book is going to make you think, a lot. But it also proffers an amazing mystery, one with a rather jaw dropping resolution.

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Wow!. What do I say?!. This was a work of art!. The story follows a man called Sean whose wife was murdered and he has moved on with his life, remarried with two children, but he isn't really present in it and still obsessed about who had killed his wife.
His boss has a group who are "the chosen" He handpicks these men to be in the group from his employees. They gather in their boss's office regularly where he sets them challenges to then pick one member who will gain good fortune from then on. Usually by having a gadget of sorts from the boss to achieve this. Obviously this next member to be chosen is Sean and he receives a black box called The Memory Palace, that can access from your brain all your old memories. He's excited and can't wait to find out all that he's forgotten and missed in life, especially his dead wife. He becomes obsessed with the box, shutting his wife out and becoming more and more secretive. It's ruining his life but he can't seem to stop.
This is a book I want to read again and again!!. I think it is a fantastic read but you need to concentrate on what you're reading and when I read it again I need a quiet room and silence!!. No, seriously I really enjoyed the ending ,that was a great twist I didn't see coming but I've found myself thinking about science, the human body and it's reactions to things. I can't say anymore but this would be a great book for a book club to discuss some pretty fascinating subjects!!. I will say no more!!. You'll have to buy the book!!!
Many thanks to Netgalley for the free ARC book for an honest review.
#Netgalley, #imbrifexbooks, #mpkozlowsky

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A very strange book but has a lot of tricks and it' Well written and keep You are On your toes the whole time you never know what's gonna happen. Sean goes to this thing with his boss It's called W IND OW Club. The boss challenges everybody to this thing about the glass window and this is just the beginning of this weird book. Sean has a lot of issues with his past and hes trying to work through them. His 1st wife died and he has another wife now and and as a son from his 1st wife and a girl from a second Wife Wife. Nick his son has a lot of issues and he doesn't really like to talk to his father. His father acts strangely when the black Box comes into their house. Sean relives his path through this black Box. The block Box is also called V Au LT memory. The story is everything like you would photo album. And Sean and things happened in his past and it really kind of troubled him his whole life.. Then his 2nd wife decided to look at the black Box and it brought up a painful memory from her past. Her ex husband named Dave was very abusive to her and it really upset Sean because he was watching it with her. John starts stalking this man and he decides to meet to take a breakthrough light. The really interesting part about this book is how is 1st wife being truly loved of bad things happened to her and you'll find this happening in the book E n d. And you'll find out what the meaning of the title of the book In EN D.

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I was sufficiently intrigued to give this gimmicky novel a shot ..but got bogged down just under a third of the way through. The mysterious boss who tricks widowers into his office to compete for the opportunity to be wealthy beyond imagination never comes alive and when the narrator succeeds, a complex device instead of riches is placed in his hands. There's also the mystery of how his wife had died .. just didn't work for me despite adept plotting and writing.

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Shouts out to NetGalley for the ARC.

This was a strange, fun ride, one in which the promise of the premise was always going to be hard to live up to. I appreciate any book that embraces its own ambitions, however, and the early chapters had a hook as strong as Mike Tyson. I'm also predisposed to enjoy a book like this, I must admit, due to my interest in our fallible memory and quicksilver relation to our own experiences. I like the angle the author took, in that the scariest possible memory is the one that is completely objective, its sharp corners not yet buffed by our justifications or rearrangements. While others might find those sections too info-dumpy, I rather enjoyed them, along with our narrator's exploration of his own family dynamic through memory.

This book really relies on two aspects: the memory palace, and the mystery of who had previously killed his wife. Unfortunately, the mystery plotline fades in the background, until the author tries to resurrect it in the last few chapters. This led to a lack of tension in the novel, which he tried to compensate for with a poor bickering wife who gets saddled with plenty of cliché characterizations, even as we come to learn her background and sympathize with her. Ultimately, I wasn't swayed towards emotionally investing into his present-day family, which limited my enjoyment of the middle section of the book.

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This book started off so well, but then kind of fizzled out for me. The first parts were so much fun. I kept reading because I wanted to see what would happen. The odd contests with his boss, the widowers club, were really interesting. Once our main character gets the Memory Palace I couldn't wait to see what his memories revealed...only it got a bit boring. It was mostly just normal everyday life from when he was younger was supposed to reveal who he really is and sure? But if who he really is is a normal everyday person I am not sure why I want to keep reading. I live my normal everyday life so...I was expecting more. And pretty quickly it is apparent at least partly what happened with his wife and that whole thing was...underwhelming.

Oh, and his new soon-to-be wife? When we are first introduced to her it was shocking how different she was from what I had imagined based on what the main character thought about her. His home life is really nothing like what I expected and not in a good way. In a why is he in this relationship still?? kind of way. And why is he such a poor father to his son? It was...not good. Really the characters were a bit much at times.

So he starts getting into the Memory Palace and goes a bit off the rails. Most of the story is just about memories and how we don't remember things exactly as they are/were and stuff like that. How we don't notice everything happening around us at all times. Sure, but surely you can make that more interesting to read. Then the ending was very disappointing. It just kind of resolved and left a lot of loose ends. I still have questions about things that were introduced in the story, but then never resolved. Things I thought we would get answers for, but just seem to have been forgotten. This one started off so promising, but didn't deliver in the end.

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book

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I received a free Advanced Reading Copy via NetGalley in exchange for a complete and honest review.

One of the best books I've read in a long while.

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I chose to read this book because of the first line of the description: Never trust other people's memories, and watch out for your own. That led me to believe this was definitely going to be a case of "be careful what you wish for." I hoped for tinges of maybe "The Twilight Zone"and the darker side of "Fantasy Island". I wasn't disappointed. The journey to get the answers that the protagionist thinks he wants has a lot of surprises along the way, as you kind of knew it would. The author was extremely skillful in keeping you guessing up until almost the last minute. I thought I had things figured out farly early on, but there was just enough doubt caused by alcohol and drug use,, that I was never entirely positive what was real, and because of the nature of the story, "real"almost escapes definition. I will say that this book stayed with me as few others have. The characters were not very likeable even most of the time, so if that is something you have to have in order to enjoy the story, this book might not be for you. Again, the author was very skillful at making his characters feel legitimate and empathetic. I can't say that I would change a single thing about this book, and I'm glad I read it.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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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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