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Shot in the Heart Paperback – August 1, 1995
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"I have a story to tell. It is a story of murder told from inside the house where murder is born. It is the house where I grew up, a house that, in some ways, I have never been able to leave."
Mikal Gilmore is a Rolling Stone writer and the youngest brother of murderer Gary Gilmore, who became, in 1977, the first person to be executed in the United States after a 10-year hiatus, a case which was subsequently recounted in Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song. This brave and eloquent book is the story that only Mikal Gilmore knows: the violence in multiple generations of his family, what the Gilmore house was like as he was growing up, his relationship with his brother, and his experience of the dramatic events surrounding Gary Gilmore's determination to be executed as planned, without appeal. Shot in the Heart pulls off the rare feat of conveying intense emotion without sentimentality or self-pity. The author's struggle is to set himself apart from the lurid true-crime fraternity of his father and brothers yet remain able to understand why he feels both guilty and lonely over his exclusion from his family's violent history. --Fiona Webster
From Publishers Weekly
This L.A. Times award winner by the brother of murderer Gary Gilmore tells a multigenerational tale of familial abuse.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
This book starts off being about Gary Gilmore and his crimes and subsequent execution but the author delves into his horrific family history which in my opinion is what makes the book. The horrible legacy which was Gilmore's inheritance made me sympathetic to his plight although it doesn't excuse his crimes. When the author tells the story of Gary Gilmore's birth while his parents were on the run in Texas and using false names you can't help but feel the kid was doomed from the start. Interestingly because his parents gave false names Gary Gilmore had no birth certificate under his real name, as the author says "this means he would never be born, he would only die" one of the more profound and troubling quotes from the book....there are many more.
The ghost story aspect was also brilliant in my opinion, i don't know if those things ever really happened and the author himself is a skeptic but they make the story into a gothic epic which haunts the reader long after putting the book down.
In my opinion this is the greatest true crime book ever written but it's also one of the best family memoirs ever written and one of the best ghost stories ever written. This book will deeply affect you and stay with you for years.
Being the youngest of four brothers, Mikal Gilmore somehow was able to escape much, but not all, of his family's personal destruction. He became a writer for "Rolling Stone" magazine and has written a heart-wrenching book that amounts to a personal catharsis. I was in high school when Gary Gilmore was executed. I remember being interested then, but not enough to read Mailer's famous work about the case -- "Executioner's Song" (but I probably will now). One cannot describe this book as "enjoyable", but I'm glad to have a much better understanding now.