Shot in the Heart: One Family's History in Murder by Mikal Gilmore
Mikal Gilmore comes from an extraordinary family, a family haunted by death, brooding on violence and fixated by its own legends. His brother was the murderer, Gary Gilmore, shot to death by a firing squad in Utah in 1977 and the subject of Norman Mailer's subsequent novel and film, "The Executioner's Song". By then his eldest brother had already died of alcoholism and stab wounds and the third brother was to disappear over the horizon, his fate unknown. It is possible that his brothers' fascination with lives of violence was inherited from his mother's fears. Bessie Gilmore believed that the family was haunted. She was taken as a child to witness a public hanging of a murderer, and the event fascinated and terrified her for the rest of her life. She believed that public killings unleashed the demons of the hanged murderers and that these demons flew from the gaping mouths of the dying men into somebody in the crowd. It was her belief that such a spirit had sprung into her. This a real-life family saga, but it is not only about violence and death. It is also the story of how one son preserved himself from his family and the emotional cost of remaining separate from them. This son is the author of the book.