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.
“The coherent self is a fiction: a fairytale we tell ourselves about ourselves. A host of technologies exists to reassure us otherwise—novels, to be fair, among them—and each, like an invited demon, ultimately behaves according to its own proclivities. Michael Paul Kozlowsky is admirably wary of these enticements, and has put that uneasiness at the heart of this book. Suffused with an atmosphere that suggests J.G. Ballard and Paolo Coelho chained together in a basement while a carbon monoxide alarm goes off, Scarecrow Has a Gun is at once disquieting and illuminating, eerie and sincere.”—Martin Seay, award-winning author of The Mirror Thief
“Michael Paul Kozlowsky’s brutally eccentric Scarecrow Has a Gun is a masterclass in Cartesian storytelling—simultaneously evoking Christopher Nolan’s clockwork precision and JG Ballard’s ultra-modern sense of irony, Kozlowsky has bestowed upon our cultural landscape a Rashomon for our Post-Truth, Mandela Effect-ed times.”–Jeff Chon, author of Hashtag Good Guy With a Gun
"With writing that's both sharp and dense, Michael Paul Kozlowsky's Scarecrow Has A Gun is a labyrinthine mystery that feels as if David Cronenberg and Don DeLillo had collaborated on a Philip K. Dick adaptation. It's a gut-punch meditation on the way our brains process mediation, memory, trauma, and grief."--Tex Gresham, author of Sunflower, Heck, Texas, and This Is Strange June
“Scarecrow Has a Gun is a propulsive read that spirals deep into the intersections of memory, technology, and the shifting boundaries between the real and the unreal. Kozlowsky has pulled off that rarest of feats in a novel that reads as both a thriller and a philosophical thriller. It’s the perfect book for our unsettled times.”— Nicholas Rombes, author of The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing and The Ramones’ Ramones