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Berkley / NAL (2004-06-01)
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A Memoir of Murder and it's Aftermath

by Cummins, Jeanine

The acclaimed author of AMERICAN DIRT reveals the devastating effects of a shocking tragedy in this landmark true crime book--the first ever to look intimately at the experiences of both the victims and their families.

A Rip in Heaven is Jeanine Cummins' story of a night in April 1991, when her two cousins Julie and Robin Kerry, and her brother, Tom, were assaulted on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River just outside of St. Louis. When, after a harrowing ordeal, Tom managed to escape the attackers and flag down help, he thought the nightmare would soon be over. He couldn't have been more wrong. Tom, his sister Jeanine, and their entire family were just at the beginning of a horrific odyssey through the aftermath of a violent crime, a world of shocking betrayal, endless heartbreak, and utter disillusionment. It was a trial by fire from which no family member would emerge unscathed.

Jeanine Cummins is the author of four books: the bestselling memoir A Rip in Heaven, and the novels The Outside Boy, The Crooked Branch, and American Dirt. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.

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In this forceful memoir Cummins recounts the wrenching drama in a straightforward, expertly paced narrative that reads like a novel. Writing the book "as a love letter to my cousins, as a voice for my brother," she shows how the quest for justice was nearly as traumatic as the crimes themselves - and how her family survived the heartbreaking process by pulling together and keeping the girls' memories alive.

Review: People Magazine

The conclusion, which examines how the cruelest of the murderers became a cause célèbre thanks to his youth, offers astringent commentary on our society's fascination with killers, who in media coverage often overshadow their victims. Cummins's memoir does a good job of retrieving the lives of Julie and Robin from that obscurity. Apt tribute to family endurance in the face of grievous loss.

Review: Kirkus

Cummins presents a mesmerizing, highly balanced memoir of the events, writing in the third person to give readers 'an intimate knowledge of each facet of the story.'...For someone so closely related to a crime victim to strike such a fine balance in chronicling it is a highly admirable feat. Cummins's noble account will ultimately draw readers into all sides of the story.

Review: Publishers Weekly, starred review

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