Shot in the Heart Summary
by Mikal Gilmore

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Shot in the Heart

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Mikal Gilmore is a writer for ROLLING STONE magazine and brother of the infamous Gary Gilmore, the former convict who was sentenced to death for two murders he committed in Utah in 1976. Gary Gilmore grabbed national attention when he refused all attempts to block his execution and instead demanded that he be put to death for his crimes. In January of 1977, despite efforts by his relatives, his attorneys and others opposed to the death penalty, Gary Gilmore was executed by a firing squad in Draper, Utah.

With Gary’s death, Mikal Gilmore was confronted by an overwhelming feeling of loss and dissociation from his family’s past. Gradually, he found it necessary to explore the dark core of violence that had destroyed two of his brothers. Driven by nightmares and an aching need to find out what forces had so twisted the lives of his family, Mikal began searching for a key that would unlock their past. His father Frank Gilmore was an alcoholic who had failed as a circus clown and then as a Hollywood stuntman. Mikal had not experienced the same family life his three older brothers had because by the time he was born, their father had settled down and his violent temper had mellowed. For years, Frank had moved the family from town to town all over the country as he perpetrated flim flam schemes and con games to make a living. A heavy drinker, he regularly beat and verbally abused his wife and sons. Mikal’s mother and brothers endured years of torment which eventually resulted in a dysfunctional household. A SHOT IN THE HEART is an eloquent, gripping and emotionally charged account of an American tragedy that will profoundly affect the reader.