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November 05, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

SHOT IN THE HEART by Mikal Gilmore (Anchor: $14.95; 404 pp., illustrated). Gilmore, the brother of executed murderer Gary Gilmore, received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in biography for his wrenching portrait of a hideously dysfunctional family. Their con artist father, who had married many times under various aliases, abused his wife and four sons; their mother sought to escape the strictures of her Mormon upbringing but found she had exchanged one prison for another. Gilmore reveals the physical and emotional cruelty people who genuinely care for each other can inflict as he searches the past for the action that launched his brother into a life of criminal excess that culminated in two murders. Haunted by these terrible ghosts, Gilmore suggests that some wounds are too deep to heal

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