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A Rip in Heaven

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3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,315 Ratings  ·  183 Reviews
It was a headline story in the New York Times and USA Today. It was covered by Court TV and profiled on the Ricki Lake Show. Now, here is the intimate memoir of a shocking crime and its aftermath...one family's immediate and unforgettable story of what victims can suffer long after they should be safe.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by NAL
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,705)
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Matt
Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
True crime is a somewhat seedy literary genre. At the bookstore, it is usually tucked away in a far corner, in the same way an old video store hid the adult fare behind strings of beads. It is hard to explain away a fascination with true crime, because it’s typically a deep wallow in the worst kind of depravity trafficked in by humans. The titles tell the tale: A Need to Kill; Sleep My Darlings; The Gainesville Ripper. Not exactly subtle. Not exactly Crime and Punishment.

The allure of true crim
...more
Meaghan
Apr 14, 2013 Meaghan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: true crime buffs
Considering that this book is about the brutal gang rape and murder of the author's two cousins, it is an extremely balanced and thoughtful account, much like Ann Rule's work. Julie and Robin Kerry were thrown off a bridge in Missouri in 1991; Robin's body was never found. Their cousin, Jeanine Cummins's brother Tom, was with them and was also shoved off the bridge, but survived and later testified against the killers. There are detailed word portraits of each of the main characters in the story ...more
Jessica *Wise Owl*
Feb 05, 2010 Jessica *Wise Owl* rated it it was amazing
This book is about a family that suffers a terrible lost. Tom Cummins was a normal rebelious teen. When he and his cousins sneak out of the house to look at Julies (cousin) poem, out at the Old Chain of Rock Bridge. when approched by four guys things get tough for Tom, Julie, and Robin (other cousin). Terrible things happen to Tom's cousins, and after all of the bad things that have happend to them thus fare, Robin and Julie are pushed of the bridge, Tom jumps in to save them. It only gets worse ...more
booklady
Jun 24, 2013 booklady rated it liked it
Recommended to booklady by: my dear sister, Julie
One hesitates to say that one ‘likes’ a book such as this, and yet I do feel called to give it a rating. It is well-written especially for a first book and considering the emotions the author must have had to keep in check throughout. Rip in Heaven is a very compelling story which I read in two days.

However, it is also a very tragic story and not just in the sense of the original crime but in the subsequent prosecution of ‘justice’, or should I say travesty of it? As it says on the author's web
...more
Sarah
Nov 12, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
"A Rip in Heaven" was a heartfelt memoir that brought tears to my eyes. I read it so quickly because it was hard to put down. I cried at the horrific acts that the authors cousin and brother were subjected to. I was also horrified at the way both the police and the media handled the whole horrible situation. The author's brother was treated as a suspect instead of the victim that he was and then the media constantly reported inaccurate or downright false information. Plus, as the years passed by ...more
Anita Pomerantz
Feb 26, 2016 Anita Pomerantz rated it really liked it
I had a really hard time putting this book down. This is the story of Jeanine's brother and two female cousins - - all in their late teens/early twenties who have a horrible crime perpetrated against them. Unfortunately, one of the three is subsequently blamed for the crime, and this book relates the story of this injustice and the family's reaction to it.

It really is a gripping, if horrific, story on so many levels - - the crime, the senselessness and viscousness of the attack, the completely
...more
Kelly
Jan 17, 2015 Kelly rated it really liked it
Jeanine Cummins tells of the tragic true story that took place in my hometown about her brother and her two female cousins who were victims of crime and murder. One of the family members survives the tragedy, but continued to go through attacks by the local authorities and the media by making false accusations. When the real perpetrators were found, convicted of the crimes they committed, and then given the death penalty, the media made the perpetrators out to be the victims.

My heart ached for
...more
Demetria
Mar 07, 2014 Demetria rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Cummins is a member of the family that experienced horrific grief and pain on levels no one should endure. Even so, she writes in the third person to remove herself from the action in order to effectively tell the story. The story is about a crime and its aftermath and how people find ways to move on and continue to live. Cummins is able to objectively detail the events without painting the criminals in the negative light they deserve. Just by sharing the facts, she is able to fully immerse the ...more
Sarah
Jun 16, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
gonna be honest here - this was a "memoir" where the writing was outshown, by far, by the incredibly tragic story it conveys. the writing felt very forced, not so natural and easy, as so many of the other memoirs i've read lately.

also, i don't think this should even be considered a memoir. it is told from a third person omniscient perspective, and i don't think cummins had any right to assume what was going on in the minds of anyone but herself. i'm sure she has checked with her family members
...more
Lynn Robichaux
Sep 18, 2011 Lynn Robichaux rated it liked it
This book was very interesting, mostly because I remember this crime, and what I remembered did not fit the facts. I only remembered who was first accused of the crime, and not what happened after that. It's funny how we hear something on the news, and we believe it, and then we don't pay attention when the facts are changed; we simply believe te first thing we heard. I also personally know one of the detectives, and I saw him on the news and believed the story the way he told it. It's scary how ...more
Aisha
Jan 06, 2016 Aisha rated it really liked it
I am a huge true crime fan, but lately I am less interested in the more grotesque aspects of the genre and instead intrigued by works that explore criminal motivations and how survivors of violent crime deal with the aftermath.

In 1991, the author's cousins were brutally gang raped on a bridge spanning the Mississippi River as they took a walk at night with Cummins' older brother Tom. The author was only 16 at the time and not deemed old enough to accompany Robin (19), Julie (20), and Tom (19) o
...more
Sunday
Jul 15, 2015 Sunday rated it liked it
Shelves: xown, goodreads
Three cousins go to hang out on an old bridge, then are attacked. They are shoved into the Mississippi. One lives. He's accused of raping/killing his cousins.

This book is not good. It is interesting, in the based-on-real-life-events way (which is pretty *@^%ing interesting) and the person who wrote it was involved in the incident.

So what bugged me, right off the bat, is that the author explained who she was (sibling to the survivor, there for the incident) in her prologue, and then wrote about
...more
Alexes Hermosillo
May 07, 2015 Alexes Hermosillo rated it it was ok
A Rip in Heaven is written by Jeanine Cummins and has many characters in the story that many of you can relate too. Its interesting because it is based on a true story.The book is the best novel I ever read because Jeanine has a very unique way to write and explain how the characters felt through the chapters.She did a beautiful job in describing a part of the crime scene for example,"When Gene and Kay arrived at the Chain of Rocks Bridge sometime between five-thirty and six 6 A.M., they there ...more
Lisa
Jun 10, 2016 Lisa rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie Doughty
Apr 07, 2013 Katie Doughty rated it really liked it
Reading the first hand account of this local murder story was so interesting it pulled me in from the first few pages... This was a great, easy read that left me feeling a bigger appreciation for a piece of St. Louis history.
Keri
May 08, 2016 Keri rated it it was amazing
WoW! I read this book in a day and a half! Couldn’t put it down!! Why is it when we read a horrific tragedy and someones most difficult time we say “Oh my, this is the BEST book!?!”
Jeanine Cummins is a talented author and knows how to tell an intense story. I was on an airplane when I started the book only about 40 pages in and the landing gear dropped, I nearly hit the ceiling it scared me so bad! I’m truly sorry that this unimaginable loss is what has made an for an incredible book for the re
...more
Jan Kellis
Feb 27, 2015 Jan Kellis rated it it was amazing

This is the true story of the brutal rape and murder of the author’s two cousins, Robin and Julie Kerry. Her brother, Tom Cummins, witnessed everything and somehow survived. The attacks occurred in 1991 on the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis when Cummins was sixteen years old. She provides fair character sketches of the murderers and relates the manipulative police interviews of her brother immediately following the event, as well as the media’s twisted presentation of false information. Tom
...more
Lynette
Mar 10, 2016 Lynette rated it really liked it
This story is frightening, because of what happened to the three victims, because of what almost happened to the author's brother, and because of how the victims (and families) were treated by the press afterwards. I think even the author herself is unaware of how lucky her brother was to have been vindicated. The common practice of the police using coercion to gain a confession is a nightmare. How ironic that the true perpetrators were the ones hollering "police brutality!" while the innocent f ...more
Maggie
May 12, 2015 Maggie rated it really liked it
My rereading of this book made me appreciate even more Jeanine Cummins' ability to speak for victims and their families. I must also say that the Ferguson Missouri shooting and media events following had an impact upon this reading. Once the media falsely reports, repeats, and provides a platform for criminals to distort what happened, it becomes nearly impossible for the victims, the innocent, to have their voices heard. Cummins uses her writing to speak for her cousins and keep their spirit al ...more
Julia
Sep 15, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it
Reading mysteries and going to law school taught me to look at crime from the perspective of the investigator or the prosecution or defense. A Rip in Heaven is told from the perspective of the victims and as a result takes you on the same emotional roller coaster felt by the victims. It was very interesting to look at the situation from a different perspective than I am used to.

This book has encouraged me to think of crimes in a different way. Most of the time when you see crime on the news it
...more
Kenna
Jul 22, 2010 Kenna rated it liked it
Do you believe in intuition? How about fate? Whatever you call it, 19-year-old Robin had it. She told her mother for the first time when she was 9 years old that she would die young. She wanted to talk to her mother about her funeral; what she hoped it would be like. Her mother refused. When Robin was 16, her mother listened to her wishes out of respect, hating every minute of the conversation. Three years later, the girl’s mother was glad she knew what her daughter wanted. She used Robin’s wish ...more
Shawna
Mar 06, 2010 Shawna rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
A compelling read, on par with "Victim" the story of the Utah Hi-Fi Murders, I was a little confused at the beginning by the author's use of the third person when she wrote about herself, it made it difficult to keep all the family members straight. I found some of her theoretical descriptions about the night in question a little amateurish and the victims are canonized, this is clearly not an impartial account. One detail that bothered me, the author repeatedly mentions Tom's limp and that he s ...more
Monicaaa
Feb 19, 2016 Monicaaa rated it really liked it
A Rip in Heaven is Jeanine Cummins’ account of what happened to her family in St Louis of 1991, more specifically her brother, Tom and her two cousins Robin and Julie Kerry. Tom, Julie and Robin were out at night near the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, when they were confronted by four young men, aged 16 to 23. Her cousins were raped, and afterwards all three were pushed off of the bridge, falling 50 feet into the Mississippi River. Tom was the only survivor.

The book started out slow (which was why
...more
K.E. Marrs
Feb 26, 2010 K.E. Marrs rated it it was amazing
To say I loved this book would be somewhat of a falsehood. I loved and loathed it..to put it mildly.

I loved it in the sense that it made me think and rethink about everything I thought I knew about violence, and the impact it has on the families it targets. I reexamined my views on our media (though my wiew of that was already fairly low on my scale) and sadly, I had to reconstruct my views on how foolproof I thought our justice system was.

Jeanine Cummins has definitely placed her name in my l
...more
Stephanie Wargin
Dec 20, 2013 Stephanie Wargin rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric
Jan 27, 2008 Eric rated it liked it
i'm not sure what it is that draws me to books like this. perhaps it's simply a voyeuristic look into lives turned upside down byrandom violence. it reminds us that we are never truly safe and that each moment should be savored. part of the appeal here is surely a basic curiosity about the nature of grief, forgiveness, and loss.

the story is fascinating and harrowing, and moves at a fast clip. i had some problems with the writing -- the book was written by the younger sister of one of the victim
...more
Kathryn Berla
Jan 14, 2016 Kathryn Berla rated it really liked it
If you're enthralled by "Making a Murderer" check out this similarly-themed book. First 75% was gripping and highly disturbing in the same way that "Making..." is. Lost a little steam in the end but that's understandable due to the personal nature of the book. The author was very deeply affected by the crime and uses the latter part of the book to get out the emotional baggage she needs to get out, which makes it unlike a book written by an objective crime reporter--but in some ways more interes ...more
Fishface
Jan 24, 2016 Fishface rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime, memoir
This was tough going just because it was so incredibly sad, even for a true-crime story. Impeccably written. Unlike so many such stories written by people close to the disaster, it covered a great deal of territory (even Ricki Lake's two cents) and did so in a satisfying, enlightening way. I got this used and the book had already been read to tatters by the time it came into my hands. I can see why. Highly recommended.
Hilda
Oct 13, 2008 Hilda rated it really liked it
This was an "awesome" yet heart wrenching read about a family tragedy compounded by a flawed Justice System.
While two female members of the family are brutally gang raped and murdered, another family member also a victim is forced to watch as his family members are raped and murdered.

To compound the relatives grief of losing two of the family members a flawed Justice System now makes the 3rd victim into a prime suspect, and charges him with two counts of first degree murder.

This story sheds lig
...more
Lisa Rathbun
Creepy title!



Not having read the jacket blurb in detail, I thought this book would focus on the murders. As horrific as they were, it was even more frustrating to read what happened once the police were called. A little naively, I tend to trust the police (although I know better than to take ANYTHING the media says at face value). After reading this book, I'm definitely more aware of some of the underhanded tactics the police might use.



I hate how our society focuses on criminals and glamorizes
...more
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My first book, A Rip in Heaven, A Memoir of Murder and Its Aftermath, was published in 2004, and was a surprise bestseller. Writing it was the hardest thing I've ever done (including giving birth twice), and I often wondered if I did the right thing, in writing it. But thousands of e-mails from comforted victims and homicide survivors have ultimately convinced me that, despite the pain involved, t ...more
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