Narrator: David Doersch
Published by Imbrifex Books on August 2, 2022
Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
Buy on Amazon/Audible
Never trust other people's memories, and watch out for your own
Sean Whittlesea was there when his wife was murdered. He saw the light leave her eyes. He held her dead body in his arms. He knows he wept, but he cannot recollect a single other detail. Tormented by the tragedy, Sean relives the horror over and over again. As he struggles to recall what really happened, his imagination serves up an endless chain of scenarios. The truth, however, remains hidden in the vault of his memory, and the key is nowhere to be found. Nearly two decades later, Sean, now remarried and a father of two, wins a bizarre contest hosted by his eccentric boss. The prize is the Memory Palace, a state-of-the-art black box that purportedly allows its possessor to relive every moment he has ever experienced, playing out all the memories on a screen. While the small machine at first appears to be the answer to the mystery surrounding the death of his wife, it instead upends Sean's life. He pushes his family further and further away as the Memory Palace forces him to confront harsh realities and difficult questions that he lacks the strength to face or answer. Spiraling downward, Sean encounters increasingly harrowing challenges that force him to realize that his memory is not the only thing at stake. To recover the truth about his past, Sean must fight for his very life.
Scarecrow has a Gun by Michael Paul Kozlowsky explores the complex nature of memory, but falls short in several other areas. The story follows Sean, a man haunted by the murder of his first wife. Nearly two decades later, he wins a contest hosted by his eccentric boss and is given the Memory Palace, a black box that claims to allow the possessor to relive every moment they’ve ever experienced on a screen.
While the premise is interesting and explores fascinating ideas about memory storage and recollection, the book falls short in several other areas. The characters, particularly Sean and his family, are unlikable, and the family dynamics may be triggering for some readers as it includes child abuse. Additionally, the story feels disjointed and not particularly relatable.
One major flaw is that the book doesn’t provide much explanation about Sean’s boss or his body alterations, leaving a potentially interesting story unexplored. The story also feels like it doesn’t have enough material to sustain a novel, and would have been better suited as a short story.
Despite its flaws, the audiobook narration is well-done and engaging. The narrator did an excellent job of keeping the listener invested in the story, despite its shortcomings.
Overall, while Scarecrow has a Gun has an interesting premise and explores fascinating ideas about memory, its unlikable characters, triggering family dynamics, disjointed story, and unexplored plot points make it a less than satisfying read.My thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this audiobook. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
My name is Elena. Since I was a little child I loved science fiction and fantasy, and I can’t resist a good novel. In 2015, while wait I started to listen to audiobooks and I discovered the pleasure in being able to read while doing my daily tasks, so there’s always an audiobook playing on my phone. If you see me with my Bluetooth headphones on, please be gentle, I get easily startled.
I live with my boyfriend, which I met during my six-year stay in Belgium, four cockatiels, eight lovebirds, and a hamster in Madrid, Spain; and I like to spend my free time knitting and sewing while listening to audiobooks.