Executioner's Song

ConversesTrue Crime

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Executioner's Song

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juny 27, 2012, 5:03am

Great book, very much my type of true crime. I enjoy (for want of a better word) this type of immersive writing, where people who knew the criminal involved are extensively interviewed, and find it gives a well-rounded psychological picture of the subject.

Only one problem with Norman Mailer's book - how Gilmore is almost lost in the narrative. Gilmore himself, and the court and media stuff, were two stories in themselves, and without a focus on one or the other, the power of each was abated.

What I couldn't get over was Gilmore's extraordinary manipulation. He was a very chilling character who probably would have offended a lot more if not in prison most of his life. His obsession with young girls was very worrying before he met Nicole, but her willingness to involve the babysitter in their sex-life must have seemed the opportunity of a lifetime to Gilmore - a woman he could abuse at will who could potentially give him access to even younger and more vulnerable victims. His reaction to losing her was like a deadly child's tantrum, as if someone had taken away his sweets. The sexual, almost grooming tone of his letters was vile, as was his suggestion, then his insistence, that Nicole take her own life, while his own attempt was left to the last minute. His enjoyment of the attention garnered by his refusal to appeal the death penalty and his attempt, on his last night, to talk someone into helping him escape, made it seem to me that he was all bluff rather than bravery. Can't believe how many people who came in contact with him sounded impressed with him by the end of the book, or the way his family stood by him (some of whom had looked down their noses at Nicole, a very vulnerable immature woman who needed saving from herself and really needed some kind of intervention, not least for her children's sake).

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