Jerome Loving explores the history of two of the most infamous books of the past 50 years. Norman Mailer was writing The Executioner's Song, his novel about condemned murderer Gary Gilmore, when he struck up a correspondence with convicted forger, killer, and bank robber Jack Henry Abbott. Abbott convinced the famous author that he was a talented writer who deserved another chance at freedom. With letters of support from Mailer and other literary elites of the day, Abbott was released on parole in 1981. The day before a rave review of Abbott's book, In the Belly of the Beast, appeared in The New York Times, Abbott murdered a New York City waiter and fled to Mexico. Like Gary Gilmore in Mailer's true-life novel, Abbott killed within six weeks of his release from prison.