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Jeanine Cummins is the author of three books: the novels The Outside Boy and The Crooked Branch and one true crime work, A Rip in Heaven. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.
When a book grabs you from the first page with bullets shooting past a young eight year old boy, you know this is going to be one gripping read. Lydia is married to an investigative journalist trying to save Acapulco and expose the cartels who are destabilising their beloved home city. After a particular article exposes the main boss of the Los Jardineros cartel "La Lechuza", sixteen of Lydia's family are gunned down at a family get-together. She loses almost everyone she loves - with only her 8 year old son left. This story is of Luca and his Mami - on the run and their journey to escape the cartel that smashed their lives into smithereens. My heart was in my mouth and many times during the course of the book, I realised I was holding my breath in horror at the death and suffering. I felt their pain, the ragged wounds and was with the characters every step of the way willing them on, from Acapulco to the horror that is “La Bestia”, the beast, the death train, a network of Mexican fright trains that are utilised by US-bound migrants to traverse the length of Mexico, and into el Norte. The sensible bookstore owning wife morphs into a filthy, penniless, machete-carrying Lydia who is forced to put her grief on hold and transform to keep them alive. Her strength pounds off the page as they become migrants trying to escape to the US and she puts as many miles as possible between the scene of the massacre and her beloved Luca. This gripping and powerful story of a woman's love for her son, is an absolute page-turner I couldn't put down. It's an emotional rollercoaster of 53 days across 2645 miles of hell and an absolute triumph.
'A full-throated song of praise. I loved it' Sherman Alexie Ireland, 1959. Young Christopher Hurley is a tinker, a Pavee gypsy, who roams with his father and extended family from town to town, carrying all their worldly possessions in their wagons. Christy carries with him a burden of guilt as well: his mother's death in childbirth. The wandering life is the only one Christy has ever known, but when his grandfather dies, everything changes. His father decides to settle briefly, in a town, where Christy and his cousin can receive proper schooling. But still, always, they are treated as outsiders. As Christy struggles with his new classmates, he starts to question who he is and where he belongs. But then the discovery of an old newspaper photograph, and a long-buried secret, changes his life for ever.
'Rich and intricately drawn... luminous prose' Carolyn Parkhurst After the birth of her daughter Emma, the usually resilient Majella finds herself feeling isolated and exhausted. Then, at her childhood home, Majella discovers the diary of her maternal ancestor Ginny, and is shocked to read a story of murder in her family history. With the famine upon her, Ginny Doyle fled from Ireland to America, but not all of her family made it. What happened during those harrowing years, and why does Ginny call herself a killer? Is Majella genetically fated to be a bad mother, despite the fierce tenderness she feels for her baby? Determined to uncover the truth of her heritage and her own identity, Majella sets out to explore Ginny's past - and discovers surprising truths about her family and ultimately, herself.
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.
'I couldn't put it down. I'll never stop thinking about it' Ann Patchett 'One hell of a novel about a good woman on the run with her beautiful boy' Stephen King FEAR KEEPS THEM RUNNING. HOPE KEEPS THEM ALIVE. Vivid, visceral, utterly compelling, AMERICAN DIRT is the first novel to explore the experience of attempting to illegally cross the US-Mexico border. Described as 'A Grapes of Wrath for our times' (Don Winslow) it is a story that will leave you utterly changed. Yesterday, Lydia had a bookshop. Yesterday, Lydia was married to a journalist. Yesterday, she was with everyone she loved most in the world. Today, her eight-year-old son Luca is all she has left. For him, she will carry a machete strapped to her leg. For him, she will leap onto the roof of a high speed train. For him, she will find the strength to keep running.