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Extended Audio Sample Shot in the Heart Audiobook, by Mikal Gilmore Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,161 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mikal Gilmore Narrator: Will Patton Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2000 ISBN: 9780553755817
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Gary Gilmore, the infamous murderer immortalized by Norman Mailer in The Executioner’s Song, campaigned for his own death and was executed by firing squad in 1977. Writer Mikal Gilmore is his younger brother. In Shot in the Heart, he tells the stunning story of their wildly dysfunctional family: their mother, a blacksheep daughter of unforgiving Mormon farmers; their father, a drunk, thief, and con man. It was a family destroyed by a multigenerational history of child abuse, alcoholism, crime, adultery, and murder.

Mikal, burdened with the guilt of being his father’s favorite and the shame of being Gary’s brother, gracefully and painfully relates a murder tale “from inside the house where murder is born…a house that, in some ways, [he has] never been able to leave.” Shot in the Heart is the history of an American family inextricably tied up with violence, and the story of how the children of this family committed murder and murdered themselves in payment for a long lineage of ruin.

Haunting, harrowing, and profoundly affecting, Shot in the Heart exposes and explores a dark vein of American life that most of us would rather ignore. It is a book that will leave no reader unchanged.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Remarkable, astonishing…Like a combination of Brothers Karamazov and a series of Johnny Cash ballads…Chilling, heartbreaking, and alarming.”

    New York Times

  • One of the most beautifully written, moving nonfiction books published in the past five years. Deidre Donahue, USA Today.
  • Remarkable, astonishing... Shot in the Heart reads like a combination of Brothers Karamazov and a series of Johnny Cash ballads... chilling, heartbreaking, and alarming. Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times.
  • Mesmerizing... riveting and immensely moving... Shot in the Heart is a gesture of sustained courage that just happens to be a page-turner. Daphne Merkin,The New Yorker.
  • “Mesmerizing…Riveting and immensely moving…Shot in the Heart is a gesture of sustained courage.”

    New Yorker

  • “One of the most beautifully written, moving nonfiction books published in the past five years.”

    USA Today

  • Winner of the 1994 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography
  • Winner of the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography/Autobiography
  • Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • A 1995 Anthony Award Finalist for Best True Crime
  • A 1994 Hammett Prize Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 amy silver | 2/15/2014

    " deeply disturbing. memorable. (i read it in college, and i still haven't recovered.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 2/14/2014

    " Very haunting story of how the Gilmore children were raised and how that contributed to Gary Gilmore becoming a criminal and murderer. He was executed in Utah in the mid-1970's. The abuse of the children is at times difficult to read. It was fascinating to read about Mikal's view on Mormons and their theology. Mikal's parents lied about their history. This left me wondering why. I guess they lied because they didn't want their children to know the truth. I wonder what that truth was and what Frank Sr. was really running from all those years. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellenh | 1/22/2014

    " Incredibly sad, dark family story. Found myself hooked into finishing it. Mikal wrote an insightful, honest & gripping memoir. How he & Frank manged to escape the brutality is a story of strength & resilience, Makes me wonder where the rest of the family survivors are. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trixie St. Claire | 12/15/2013

    " My favorite book - haunting and full of self-revelation behind a widely publicized event. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara Justiniano | 11/22/2013

    " One of my favorite books of all time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nikki | 11/16/2013

    " This book was amazing. Mikal Gilmore tells the story of his family and his murderous brother Gary Gilmore. Intense, exciting and exhilerating! Definitely recommend to anyone who wants to read a book about a haunting family. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 11/10/2013

    " Mormonism, death penalty, child abuse. Doesn't sound like my idea of a good read but somehow it's all spun into an incredibly compelling and thought provoking book. Now I want to read The Executioner's Song. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 10/30/2013

    " I read this book when it first came out many years ago. It was a heart breaking book. I need to read this again soon...one of my favs! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joant | 10/2/2013

    " Horrifying and heartfelt. This is not an excuse, but an explanation. I will never get the scene of Gary Gilmore fighting his way out of a bramble of blackberry bushes. Rage and frustration in one image. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Madre | 9/24/2013

    " I am a weirdo, but I really like TRUE CRIME> This is a good one. Gary Gilmore was killed in teh Utah State Prison by lethal injection "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon | 8/17/2013

    " This is very interesting book, it explains about Mikal's older brother Gary Gilmore, as he explains about his three older brothers that had experienced abuse and the author also mentions some about mormon history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lp | 7/12/2013

    " I read this book a long time ago, so I don't know if it stands the test of time, but I really liked this book, told from the POV of gilmore's younger brother. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marla | 6/17/2013

    " Before reading this book-read the Executioner's Song. Mikal's brother, Gary Gilmore became notorious with the death penalty. Mikal relates his childhood and his memories of his brother in a well-written book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holly | 4/7/2013

    " contains one of my favorite sentences ever written about Mormon children: speaking of his cousins, Gilmore writes, "They seemed prissy and mean at the same time--in the way that only well-bred Mormon children can seem." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patrick Kavanagh | 3/17/2013

    " I listened to the audio version of this and it was devastatingly good, one of the best books I've ever read. I re-read it on paper a few years later. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 2/24/2013

    " if you feel bad about the way you were raised, this might make you feel like your life isn't as bad as others. sad and true. a bit about america, a bit about mormons, a bit about the death penalty, a bit about finding out fact from myth regarding your familial heritage... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristin Schmoldt | 12/31/2012

    " I highly recommend this book. An excellent read, especially if you're interested in criminal and family psychology. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 10/27/2012

    " A book recommended to me by colleagues. Didn't finish it. Not normally interested in this type. Just am not. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott | 6/20/2012

    " Kind of harrowing, both in subject matter and scope. Gilmore dredges back through his family history to help explain their various crimes. Occasional introspective asides fall flat, but otherwise it moves fast. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane | 2/8/2012

    " An amazing, amazing book that is one of only a handful of books I'd recommend to anyone and everyone. I honestly can't understand how any curious, intelligent person could dislike it. Highly, highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eileen Sam | 10/20/2011

    " Good autobio, sheds light on crazy Mormons...they're still crazy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jojo | 8/15/2011

    " mormonism sprung from blood atonement. eye opening... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul Austin | 4/23/2011

    " Known mostly for his pop culture writing (check out his "Night Beat" anthology, mostly from his days writing for Rolling Stone), this is an entirely different beast... the author is Gary Gilmore's brother. 'Nuff said. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marla | 4/10/2011

    " Before reading this book-read the Executioner's Song. Mikal's brother, Gary Gilmore became notorious with the death penalty. Mikal relates his childhood and his memories of his brother in a well-written book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy | 1/24/2011

    " I read this book for the first time when I was 16 and now again when I am 33 and it is just as devestating a read now as it was then. Highly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patrick | 12/13/2010

    " I listened to the audio version of this and it was devastatingly good, one of the best books I've ever read. I re-read it on paper a few years later. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynn | 11/12/2010

    " Very good book, very heart wrenching. This book made cry and feel so sad for the whole family. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kat | 5/31/2010

    " An essential American memoir. Can't recommend this highly enough, particularly to those who grew up in an emotionally-convoluted household. Clear and straightforward prose, but emotionally powerful, and complex, full of ghosts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eli | 3/26/2010

    " I've read this in the Norwegian translated version and it's a heart breaking, spine chilling description of Gary's childhood, adult life and execution. I've seen the documentary as well. Although his deeds were horrific and selfdestructive, I can't help but feel sympathy for him. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellenh | 3/2/2010

    " Incredibly sad, dark family story. Found myself hooked into finishing it. Mikal wrote an insightful, honest & gripping memoir. How he & Frank manged to escape the brutality is a story of strength & resilience, Makes me wonder where the rest of the family survivors are. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elise | 1/11/2010

    " Well-told story about a truly terrifying family and what it produced. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Antonio Rossano | 12/27/2009

    " An excellent sad story that touched me deeply. I developed a desparate wish to help them along my reading, although I knew the tragic end of the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 12/13/2009

    " Another great take on a story that I've read three books on. And considering how close Mikal Gilmore was to it, and how brilliantly he wrote about it, was just awe-inspiring. Great stuff. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Todd | 9/16/2009

    " A brilliantly dark look into dysfunctional family and the life and execution of Gary Gilmore by his brother, Rolling Stone music critic Mikal Gilmore. "

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About the Author
Author Mikal GilmoreMikal Gilmore has covered and criticized rock & roll, its culture, and related issues for many national publications.  He was music editor for the L.A. Weekly and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and for twenty years has worked on the staff of Rolling Stone, where he has profiled many national figures.  His first book, Shot in the Heart, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.  He lives and works in Los Angeles, California.  
About the Narrator

Will Patton is an award–winning actor who has narrated audiobooks by such authors as Charles Frazier, Larry McMurtry, Don DeLillo, and Ernest Hemingway. He has won thirty-two AudioFile Earphones Award for his narrations. His numerous film credits include Remember the Titans, The Punisher, The Mothman Prophesies, Armageddon, and The Spitfire Grill. He starred in the TNT miniseries Into the West and on the CBS series The Agency and won Obie Awards in the theater for his performances in Fool for Love and What Did He See.