Dead by Sunset: Perfect Husband, Perfect Killer?

( 48 )

Overview

The author of eight New York Times bestsellers, Ann Rule first won nationwide acclaim with The Stranger Beside Me, about serial killer Ted Bundy. Her Crime Files volumes, based on fascinating case histories, have assured her reputation as our premier chronicler of crime. Now the former Seattle policewoman brings us the horrific account of a charismatic man adored by beautiful and brilliant women who always gave him what he wanted...sex, money, their very lives....
When attorney ...

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Overview

The author of eight New York Times bestsellers, Ann Rule first won nationwide acclaim with The Stranger Beside Me, about serial killer Ted Bundy. Her Crime Files volumes, based on fascinating case histories, have assured her reputation as our premier chronicler of crime. Now the former Seattle policewoman brings us the horrific account of a charismatic man adored by beautiful and brilliant women who always gave him what he wanted...sex, money, their very lives....
When attorney Cheryl Keeton's brutally bludgeoned body was found in her van in the fast lane of an Oregon freeway, her husband, Brad Cunningham, was the likely suspect. But there was no solid evidence linking him to the crime. He married again, for the fifth time, and his stunning new wife, a physician named Sara, adopted his three sons. They all settled down to family life on a luxurious estate. But gradually, their marriage became a nightmare....
In this gripping account of Cheryl's murder, Ann Rule takes us from Brad's troubled boyhood to one of the most bizarre trials in legal history, uncovering multiple marriages, financial manipulations, infidelities, and monstrous acts of harassment and revenge along the way. Dead By Sunset is Ann Rule at her riveting best.

Dead By Sunset is the extraordinary true story of a charismatic man adored by beautiful and brilliant women who always gave him what he wanted. But he wanted everything--sex, money, and their lives. How long would it take before he finally got what he deserved? A soon-to-be ABC-TV miniseries.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Walter Walker The New York Times Book Review ...fascinating material....Ms. Rule admirably recounts this labyrintine tale....

Publishers Weekly Rule provides a perceptive character analysis of a malignant, self-centered, charismatic con artist. It's a chilling, haunting portrait.

Dan Webster The Spokesman-Review (ID) The similarities with the O.J. case are compelling.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Brad Cunningham was handsome, brilliant, a high-school hero in his native Seattle, a football star at the University of Washington. His family background was unusual, with a Native American mother of whom he was ashamed and an Anglo father who was contemptuous of women. As an adolescent, Brad was violent with his sisters and his mother. This pattern continued in his first, second and third marriages but reached its apogee with his fourth wife, Cheryl Keeton, a highly successful lawyer by whom he fathered three sons. When their marriage collapsed and she sought custody of their children, Brad, a bank executive, threatened her; in September 1986, she was found bludgeoned to death in her car on an Oregon highway. The case remained unresolved until Cheryl Keeton's estate filed a civil suit for damages against Brad in 1991. A criminal trial followed in 1993, in which Brad was found guilty of murder and sentenced to a minimum of 22 years. Rule (Small Sacrifices) provides a perceptive character analysis of a malignant, self-centered, charismatic con artist. It's a chilling, haunting portrait. Photos not seen by PW. 125,000 first printing; True Crime Book Club main selection; Doubleday Book Club, Literary Guild and Mystery Guild featured alternates; Reader's Digest Nonfiction Condensed Book Club selection; Tri-Star/NBC-TV miniseries to air in November. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Bradley Cunningham was, to all appearances, a handsome, charming, and loving father, and caring husband. In reality, he considered his wives and children to be nothing more than disposable possessions. Rule proves herself once again to be the master of the true-crime genre in this account of abuse and murder. The narrative follows Cunningham's childhood, business dealings, affairs, and marriages and includes a look at his relationships with his parents, friends, and co-workers. Rule's writing is crisp and well paced, full of details that give the reader clear insight into circumstances and surroundings, as well as motive. Not only is Cunningham revealed as a master of manipulation and, ultimately, murder, but with the added dimension of sociopath-one who is absolutely unfazed by his crimes. Rule, if possible, has outdone herself. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/95.]-Christine Moesch, Buffalo & Erie Cty. P.L., N.Y.
Sue-Ellen Beauregard
Eight years after killing his divorced wife in Portland, Oregon, Brad Cunningham was finally convicted of her murder. The best-selling author of "The Stranger beside Me" (1981) and "Everything She Ever Wanted" (1992) tackles the case of the five-times-married Cunningham, whose loving personality and demeanor changed after each marriage. Although Rule's treatment has a promising beginning, her initial remark about the whole affair--that "the end would be a long time coming" --fittingly applies to the whole chronicle. Part of the book's overall problem may be that, compared to, say, cunning serial killer Ted Bundy, the manipulative Cunningham, who killed only once, is not particularly interesting, nor is his particular crime unique. Now if he had killed all five wives, that might be quite a story! Still, Rule knows how to pack some punch into her narrative, and her name on the cover will garner the interest of true-crime aficionados. With a large first printing, an author tour of the major venues, and lots of marketing hoopla, Simon & Schuster is counting on that.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671001131
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/1996
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 276,281
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann  Rule

Ann Rule is the author of thirty New York Times bestsellers, all of them still in print. Her first bestseller was The Stranger Beside Me, about her personal relationship to infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. A former Seattle police officer, she knows the crime scene firsthand. For more than two decades, she has been a powerful advocate for victims of violent crime. She lives near Seattle. Visit her at AuthorAnnRule.com.

Biography

Ann Rule has always had an insatiable interest in why people do the things they do. From devouring true crime books when she was a girl to pursuing a career in law enforcement as a Seattle policewoman, to achieving blockbuster success as a true crime author, Rule has dedicated her life to uncovering the dark motivations inside the minds of the criminals who live among us.

The majority of Rule's books have hit the New York Times bestseller list, including six Crime Files series volumes: A Rage to Kill, In the Name of Love, the #1 bestseller A Fever in the Heart, You Belong to Me, A Rose for Her Grave, and The End of the Dream.

...And Never Let Her Go is her chilling account of the nationally renowned case of wife killer Thomas Capano; Bitter Harvest covers the case of Debora Green, a physician and mother driven to murder; the #1 bestseller If You Really Loved Me tells the true story of a millionaire's murderous alter ego; Everything She Ever Wanted is the story of a sociopathic Georgia socialite and her fatal attractions; Small Sacrifices is Rule's heartbreaking account of a woman who slaughtered her three young children. Perhaps her best-known and most compelling work, The Stranger Beside Me, is the fascinating tale of Rule's growing terror as she realized her friend and coworker, Ted Bundy, was a serial killer. Finally, the #1 New York Times bestseller Dead by Sunset tells the story of a charismatic killer and the women who loved him.

Generous and civic-minded when it comes to sharing her expertise and insights, Rule has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee and often speaks to law enforcement agencies, including the FBI Academy. She also served on the U.S. Justice Department task force that set up VI-CAP -- the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program now in use at the FBI to trace and apprehend serial killers.

Good To Know

Rule's early jobs included being a caseworker for the Washington State Department of Public Assistance and a police officer.

Rule's interest in criminology seems to run in the family: Her grandfather and an uncle were sheriffs, another uncle was a medical examiner, and her cousin was a district attorney.

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    1. Hometown:
      Seattle, Washington
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 22, 1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lowell, Michigan
    1. Education:
      Creative Writing Program, University of Washington

Table of Contents

Part 1 The Crime 1
Part 2 Brad 77
Part 3 Cheryl 131
Part 4 Sara 267
Part 5 Dana 349
Part 6 A Civil Matter 383
Part 7 The Criminal Trial 465
Afterword 526
Acknowledgments 529
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 48 )
Rating Distribution

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(29)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 1, 2012

    GOOD READ

    There isn't an Ann Rule book I didn't like, and this one is no exception. Brad Cunningham has to be the biggest nut job on the planet, and I have read so many true crime novels I can't begin to count them all..master manipulator in the strongest sense of the word!

    Ann Rule gets people to talk- she is a thorough author, that always writes in a very easy to read and informative style. Hard to put down, this book is an attention grabber!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 29, 2012

    Very good read!

    I love Ann Rule books but some are better than others, of course. I found this book very well written. It was pretty hard to put down. The human mind never ceases to amaze me. What causes a person to be so callous? Ann has done it again in "Dead by Sunset".

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    My first

    This is the first book by Ann Rule that I read after seeing the movie based on the book on Lifetime. I must say I have become hooked to books written by Ann Rule. She leaves no detail unturned. She is a great author!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2010

    Another great book by Ann Rule

    Read this in two days--couldn't put it down. Very consuming. Thank God for justice.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2000

    held my attention through out

    from the first page to the last,this story was wonderfuly told.it tuged on my heart the way the author was able to tell about the way the victims friends come to help put away the killer.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2011

    Loved it

    Read this book one summer years ago. Loved it, kept my interest. Saw the movie years later so glad had read the book first.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2011

    Good read

    As horrible as this is, it kept me interested. good read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2010

    An unbelievable true story

    I saw the movie on Lifetime Time for Women and was so intrigued by it that I went and bought the book. Ann Rule does an outstanding job of giving the reader all the facts and giving personalities to the real life characters of her book. I couldn't put it down even though I had seen the movie there was SO much more in the book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2004

    Could not put it down

    This book is extrordinarily engaging. Not only because the crime was so horrific, but because the character analysis of Brad Cunningham was so right on. As good as any psychiatrist's. I wish more young girls would read books like this so we would't have so many innocent victims of abuse and murder. I would like to teach a class on this subject. I was also engaged because I used to live close to the crime scene, the Sunset Highway in Portland, Oregon, and also in Lake Oswego, where Mr. Cunningham had one of his jobs. There are so many of these sociopaths and psycopaths among us. I am so thankful to Ann Rule for raising our consciousness to be aware. As my mother said, 'You can't be too careful out there.'

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2003

    A Rat Finally Gets His Comeuppance

    I didn't read this, but listened to it on tape, and am familiar with Ann Rule's true-crime books. The story is tragic, infuriating, and fascinating - it was sad that so many seemingly intelligent women fell under the spell of this man's evil charm. Sharon Gless's reading of the tale is excellent, imparting immediacy and excitement to the prose of a middling writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2001

    Best Book I Ever Read

    This was one of the best books I read. I couldn't put the book down. I loved how she wrote with such words and put u in the characters place and felt what they felt. It was such a great book that I read over a million times.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2000

    I was scared to live in Oregon!!!!!!!

    I first started the book it was my first Ann Rule book. It was a bit hard to get into but the deeper I got into it, I couldn't put it down! I remembered when I was little and that took place. The scarist part about was it is true!! It's so good!!!! I had to check out another one of her books!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    Read This Years Ago

    This is one of my favorite Ann Rule books. Very well wtitten, great story telling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    The best

    This is the by far the best true crime book i have read, Ann Ruls you really out did yourself. Brad Cunningham you are the most evil, (so many others words for you) monster, what you did to everyone including your children is just beyond words.. thank God their mothers can teach them right from wrong. All but the mom you Brad took from three boys whom loved her dearly.. i dont understand how you could murder your childrens mother.. i pray you stay in prision .... Bn

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    Couldn't put it down

    Another great book from Ann Rule. Her writing style is awesome, there is no other way to describe it. It's heartbreaking to know what people are willing to do for money. Furthermore, how anger and rage will take over a person to do the despicable. If you enjoy reading True Crime, I highly recommend you read this book, it's a must, I could not set the book down. So good that I read as I worked out in the gym, before I knew it I two hour routine was over and I wasn't even tired because I was so in to the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2002

    Unfinished Business

    Was one of the sons's a witness to their mother's murder by his father? This was mentioned several times and led you to believe that the child would testify, or that through psychotherapy would reveal the truth about this. Your appetite is whetted but at the conclusion of the book nothing about this is ever discovered. Also, you never are told about the boys and their feelings about the innocence or guilt of their father, or what happens to this man once he is incarcerated - how he fares, how he spends his time, whether he seeks endless appeals, or finally admits his guilt. I've read many of Ann Rules books and on this one was left hanging.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2002

    what happened?

    i am a big fan of ann rule books, i have also read the story about ted bundy. it was also good. the only thing about 'Dead by Sunset', was that i don't know if brad ever confessed. also, if he had one son with him on his 'laundry trip', did the son have to witness his mother's death?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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