Skip to Main Content

The Trigger

Narratives of the American Shooter

Published by Arcade
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

This “provocative . . . maddening . . . riveting” look at the complex realities behind gun violence in America is now in paperback.
The Trigger steps into the shoes of perpetrators of American gun violence, giving readers a unique, eye-opening window into an issue that plagues our country. Author Daniel J. Patinkin exhaustively interviewed six shooters about their life experiences and the circumstances that compelled them to use a firearm against another person. The subjects include a crack dealer from South Carolina, a Chicago cop, an abused teenage girl from Tennessee, a working man from Albuquerque, a California college football standout, and a troubled Navy veteran from Michigan. The result is a series of profound narratives that explore the cultural, racial, economic, and psychological issues underlying the scourge of gun violence in the United States.
In 2017, more than 15,600 people were killed—the most in fifty years—and more than 31,000 were injured in acts of gun violence. Another 23,000-plus committed suicide with firearms. Faced with these desensitizing statistics, one easily forgets that each incident is perpetrated by a real human being who has walked a complicated path through life. Unsettling and enlightening, the narratives in The Trigger provide “a welcome, thoughtful and thought-provoking contribution to the present national dialogue over the role of guns in our contemporary American society” (Midwest Book Review).

About The Author

Daniel Patinkin is a Chicago-born writer and businessman. His unique career has spanned the real estate, finance, education, and entertainment industries. He earned a BA in English and history from Indiana University and an MFA in producing from the University of Southern California. The Crippler is his first book.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Arcade (October 8, 2019)
  • Length: 312 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781948924559

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

A provocative, sometimes maddening, occasionally riveting examination of the lives of six ordinary Americans who share the experience of having shot someone. . . The roughly 43 victims of gun violence every day [in the United States] were killed by the kind of people profiled by Patinkin. . . . Each story is self-contained but also illuminates the broader issues surrounding gun violence.”— Washington Post

"Patinkin writes about these lives with bracing empathy, and he clearly engaged the trust of his subjects, whose perspective on their crimes is filled with horror and regret. . . [He] has told us six stories that no one else would. He acknowledges that he is in no way trying to overlook the central tragedy of the victims and their families, but he tries his best to force readers to realize that these shootings aren’t just random events, but a result of real troubles within the shooters and the society that produces, and generally ignores, them." —Chicago Tribune

“A moving exploration of gun violence . . . With a distressing and challenging set of narratives, Patinkin gives a rare account of the perpetrator's perspective.”—, “5 True-Crime Books We Can’t Wait to Read This Spring”

"We need stronger conversations around gun violence, and The Trigger is an interesting place to start."— and, "11 True Crime Books That'll Give You Goosebumps and Keep You Up All Night"

"An extraordinary read from first page to last, The Trigger: Narratives of the American Shooter will prove to be a welcome, thoughtful and thought-provoking contribution to the present national dialogue over the role of guns in our contemporary American society. . . . Very highly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Social Issues collections, and deserving of as wide a readership as possible,"—Midwest Book Review

“Timely . . . His narratives, each complex in its own thorny way, humanize shooters for those who, like Patinkin before he embarked on this project, have had no previous exposure to them as people.”—Publishers Weekly

“This is a great look at guns, the people that have had to shoot someone, and how it has affected their lives. This is a wonderful book . . . and one that I recommend everyone to read.."—jbronderbookreviews

“Patinkin illuminates hard truths about American society that are not evident in commonly cited statistics or partisan talking points. The narratives challenge the reader to critically examine his or her own beliefs, and to either reaffirm them or abandon them. This is a powerful and unique contribution to the dialogue about gun violence in the United States.”—Andrew Yang, author of The War on Normal People and 2020 US presidential candidate

"Patinkin dives behind the headlines to reveal the fine details of the lives of his subjects. He humanizes them through his meticulous investigative process and offers a compelling and gripping work that explores gut-wrenching social issues. Anyone seeking to understand gun violence in America needs to read this intense, intimate book." —Tony D'Souza, author of Mule

“The Trigger is a raw and unflinching look at America's gun violence epidemic. Patinkin weaves us through the complicated and emotional backstories that propel people into shootings. This is a sobering and important book.” —Jooyoung Lee, gun violence expert and author of Blowin' Up

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Daniel J. Patinkin