Mikal Gilmore’s devastating 1994 memoir, “Shot in the Heart,” was part “Brothers Karamazov,” part Johnny Cash ballad, and it was a remarkable bookend to Norman Mailer’s “true life novel” “The Executioner’s Song.” In recounting the story of how his brother, Gary, in a senseless act of anger murdered two men and in 1977 became the first American in a decade to be executed after a Supreme Court decision restored the death penalty, the author created a wrenching portrait of their family and its sad, violent history of “dark secrets and failed hopes,” which became part of his brother’s “impetus to murder.”
Writings on the 1960s and Its Discontents
By Mikal GfULL PIECE BY nytilmore
391 pages. Free Press. US$27.