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A Rip in Heaven

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  2,872 ratings  ·  292 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 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

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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,872 ratings  ·  292 reviews

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Nov 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
“They came into the clearing suddenly and the moon opened up above them, lighting the cracked and broken concrete that stretched like the decaying bones of giants between them and the abandoned Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. Tom [Cummins] stopped dead in his tracks, causing Robin [Kerry] to stumble into his back. He willed himself to move forward but he felt stuck, mesmerized by the menacing old bridge that loomed up before him. The massive steel structure was wild with leaves, and the undergrowth n ...more
Sep 28, 2007 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
Jun 06, 2008 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 we
Anita Pomerantz
Jul 06, 2012 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
Jessica *Wise Owl*
Jan 22, 2010 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
Oct 31, 2012 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
Aug 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
I'm not sure how to explain my dislike for this book. I didn't think the writing was very good, the presentation/flow wasn't great, and there was just something that irritated me about it. I apologize to the author; I understand this was a very traumatic event in her and her family's life and I can't begin to understand what they went through and the feelings they all must have. I think it just came across to me wrong - as a string of defensive victimizations. I didn't feel like I learned about ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes true crime
Recommended to Mary by: Paperback Swap
Jeanine Cummins and her brother and sister had always believed themselves to be invincible; tough street-wise teenagers who were entirely capable of taking care of themselves. The truth was that these supposedly 'street-smart' city kids could not have been living a more sheltered childhood. Truly, life in the big city could never have prepared Tom, Jeanine, and Kathy Cummins for anything. Indeed, nothing could have ever prepared the Cummins family for the type of brutality that they were about t ...more
Jan 07, 2015 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
Lynn Robichaux
Sep 18, 2011 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
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I never heard of these murders until my father lent me this book to read. What a senseless violence that happened to those poor girls and Tom. My condolences to the family, to this author who went through hell with her brother.

My most favorite part of this novel was how in the end, it perfectly summed up how the true victims can end up forgotten. The criminal ends up the victim due to media and human right activists who focus on the injustices of the death penalty instead of focusing on the man
Sheila DeChantal
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's hard to talk about this book without giving too much away.  I find in this case it is better for the events to unfold to each reader as they turn the pages, much as I did... having hope, having shock, having sorrow...  it is indeed a personal journey.

For my full thoughts....
Scott Booker
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always hate saying that I truly enjoy a book when it is based on a True Crime, but Jeanine Cummins did an excellent job of telling this story that needed to be told. And she did it in a manner that was quite honest and respectful. My heart goes out to this family!
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So good! I mean, the story itself is heart wrenching, but the author did such a great job sharing her perspective and also getting me to think about the victims and their families more-- not just when it happens and in the investigation, but throughout the whole "process" ---which was the intention!
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
St. Louis - The true story of the brutal rape and murder of 2 young women and their cousin is wrongfully accused.
Linda Parker
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Heartbreaking. True story about 2 girls I attended school with and their cousin. Crime happened near where I grew up. So sad, but well written.
Katie Janowicz
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a gripping memoir reflecting on the brutal attack and subsequent murders of the author’s two cousins, Julie and Robin, in 1991. What a devastating experience for this family and the Kerry sisters seemed like two genuine and kind young women who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I plan to do some more research on this story, as my interest was definitely peaked.
Connie Lanier
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Julie and Robin REST IN PEACE.

Could not put the book down. Mad me think. Made me sad.

We must not forget the victims or sensationalize the criminal.
Amanda Montes
A Rip In Heaven seems to be Cummins attempt at finding closure following a tragic incident involving her brother and two of their cousins. The story line prompts heart-pounding and fury over the brutality and injustice. However, the author seems to write herself into the plot when her role has no support on the incident recounted. Things move quickly until she finds it necessary to pull back and share her own irrelevant experience in a third-person narrative.

Perhaps my opinion is blunt consider
Mar 07, 2014 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
Jun 13, 2010 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
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
I sort of liked this book while I was reading it, but like other readers, was annoyed by the author's choice to use the third person. I empathize with the author but after I read the book, I researched the case a little and found some holes in the story and facts that she omitted. I know she is a family member but I expected a little more objectivity. I found her canonization of the victims to be a little annoying too. there are websites out there devoted to this case that I found interesting an ...more
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, true-crime
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.
Katie Doughty
Mar 17, 2013 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.
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great telling of a horrible real life rape and murder. Very good description of all the emotions and frustrations involved.
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What happened to this young man was a true injustice. This was such a great book!
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes Murder/Suspense
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Randle Milton
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Rip in Heaven written by Jeanine Cummins is a non-fiction memoir written about a tragic event that happened in the Authors past life. The main character Tom Cummins who is also the authors brother was involved in an unforgettable event along with their cousin Robin and Julie. I think the book was very interesting to read. The authors writing kept me on the edge of my seat. The book was too violent for me, but overall, I would recommend reading this book.

Tom Cummins the main character had enco
Katherine Coble
I wish I had come upon this book before _American Dirt_ because I have complex feelings about Cummins based on that whole scenario.

I’m trying to evaluate the book while distancing myself from the stress of the Coronavirus isolation period and my own feelings about Cummins as an author.

I feel like Cummins sees herself as a sort of pixie onlooker who weaves a story about her life yet not about _her_ life. She’s the sister of the boy accused of killing their cousin who wouldn’t have sex with him.
Kelly Green
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook read by the author, the close cousin of the Kerry sisters who were raped and killed in St. Louis in April 1991.

I grew up in Granite City, Illinois, not far from the Chain of Rocks Bridge where this crime occurred. I remember when it happened, but I've known many of the details. This book tries to present a vivid image of Julie and Robin Kerry, as well as tell the story of their cousin Thomas Cummins, who was with them the night they were pushed from the bridge. It is a book about the
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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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