Dead By Sunset Mass Market Paperback – Apr 1 1996
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Another chilling and creepy book from the reigning queen of true-crime, Ann Rule, who also penned the riveting bestseller Small Sacrifices. Here, we encounter a charismatic con-artist accused of brutally bludgeoning his wife and follow his case through to its strangely redemptive end.
From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Dead by Sunset's strengths are not in the unravelling of the crime (..we know early on who does it) or in the analysis of the criminal trials (..actually this is the weak part of the book). It is Ann Rule's in-depth analysis of the women who completely fall for an intelligent, sex-on-legs Romeo who really seems to hate women. Brad Cunningham is truly a vile person. But upon reading the book one has to wonder how is that several wives and mistresses could be fooled into loving him? Ann Rule never attempts at answering this question. Yet we certainly see the repurcussions of loving Mr Wrong.
Bottom line: while the momentum sputters slightly towards the end, one has to be impressed with Ann Rule's attention to detail and writing talents. Strongly recommended.
The author does a good job of taking the long, complex story of Brad, Cheryl, and the others in their lives, and telling it in a way that we can keep track of the dozens of characters. There are many true crime books that just lose me in the multitudes of characters, but this one is organized into sections so that each of the main people gets his/her story told in one thread. The timeline jumps around a little, but it is relatively easy reading.
Just some minor problems: The book mentioned several times what a brilliant lawyer Cheryl was. She must have been, but I would have liked if this book gave more detail about her performance on the job. It seems like more detail was given to Brad's career (during the rare times he worked). Also, the book describes how Cheryl steals Brad from his third wife, and then during the civil trial, the prosecutor says, "...that wasn't what had happened at all." No matter who pursued who, she did in fact steal him.
Besides those two minor inconsistencies, it was a great story and I'm ready to start reading another Ann Rule book tomorrow!
Most recent customer reviews
This is a frightening story of a man who would not stop at anything to harm the people in his life, especially women. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Maria M Mckay
i have read some of your reviews. some of you people are so f-ed up beyond repair it is worthless trying to talk some sense into you. Read morePublished on June 5 2004
It is stated accurately that it is hard to feel real sorry for her, and that she(Cheryl) is not "innocent"! Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2004
I found the book to be quite riveting but I also found the insane review -- below -- riveting. The Neverland reader feels that the non-innocent "babe" basically got what... Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2004
I'm supposed to feel real sorry for a lady that stole her sorority sisters husband before they were married one year and the wife was pregnant!! Yeah, she's a real innocent babe! Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2004
this is my first Ann Rule book that i just got done reading..I dont know if it is just me but i had a hard time keeping up with the different wives and children.. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2003 by Mariann
Bradley Cunningham was pure evil! He should have gotten the death penalty!Published on July 15 2003 by Louise
First of all, what did women SEE in him? His last two wives, Cheryl (who he cold-bloodedly murdered) and Sara were successful career women: an attorney and a physician,... Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2003 by Terry M. Callen