The Executioner's Song, Norman Mailer's brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning story of the crimes and punishment of a 20th-century murderer and thief, is what the author calls a "true-life novel." It is a horrifying, sad, scrupulously detailed look at the events leading up to the moment Gary Gilmore was killed by a firing squad in Utah State Prison on January 17, 1977. Based on interviews, records of court proceedings, newspaper stories, and various other documents, it covers the nine months between Gilmore's parole from prison, his final crime, and his execution. The blurring of the distinction between fiction and nonfiction was one of the central developments of postwar American literature, and Mailer's imaginative use of the facts is an extension of his earlier forays into the "new journalism." He re-creates Gillmore's tormented psyche, recounts his crimes, takes in the story of Mormonism and the history of Utah, introduces Uncle Vern, Aunt Ida, victims, cops, cons, guards, lovers, and lawyers. The "Western Voices" of small-town America and the "Eastern Voices" of the journalists and show-biz types who descend on the Gilmore story are fused into a remarkable chorus, amplifying the presence of Gilmore himself, a smart, funny, doomed man - one of the most complex characters in modern letters.