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Extended Audio Sample Shot in the Heart, 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:
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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by Trixie St. Claire | 12/15/2013

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

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