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Dead By Sunset: Perfect Husband, Perfect Killer? PDF, ePub eBook 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 beauti 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.

30 review for Dead By Sunset: Perfect Husband, Perfect Killer?

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆

    Dead By Sunset is an interesting true crime book (yeah, I know that's a horrid thing to say about true crime books) about a man being convicted for the death of ex-wife number four. I'll never understand women who fall for men like this. I really, truly don't. This'll sound horrible, but number four had a perfect demonstration of the way he truly was before they married. You see, when they met, he was married to ex-wife number three. He'd only been married to her for a short time. Now, ex three an Dead By Sunset is an interesting true crime book (yeah, I know that's a horrid thing to say about true crime books) about a man being convicted for the death of ex-wife number four. I'll never understand women who fall for men like this. I really, truly don't. This'll sound horrible, but number four had a perfect demonstration of the way he truly was before they married. You see, when they met, he was married to ex-wife number three. He'd only been married to her for a short time. Now, ex three and ex four knew each other. They were roomies in college and were in the same sorority. When he file for divorce of ex three, she was eight months pregnant and he talked ex number four into actually server her with the papers. He's abandoning ex wife number three, after he convinced her to quit her job and while she's eight months pregnant. And, since she was a teacher and this was before Christmas, there weren't a whole of opportunities open for jobs. Hell, he even repossessed her car while she was in labor at the hospital. He calls her up: "I hear you had a girl. BTW, I took back my car." All of this and ex number four still walked into the marriage. I just don't understand it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Unbelievably selfish, stalking, lying, cheating, violent husband kills wife-we know this is how it will play out. But even I, as jaded as I am, could not believe the depths this man sunk to, all in the name of keeping custody of his young sons. Absolutely brutal

  3. 5 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    Brad Cunningham is a brilliant man. Not only was he a natural athlete, and he had been a football player in high school, he was so brilliant the world of finance and banking continually offered him the kind of work which earned him high salaries despite the fact he was always moving around. Handsome, charismatic, a high-end shopper of cars and houses - the man never had to ask a woman twice for a date - or to marry him. He was a real catch. So when he pushed his way into women's lives, they want Brad Cunningham is a brilliant man. Not only was he a natural athlete, and he had been a football player in high school, he was so brilliant the world of finance and banking continually offered him the kind of work which earned him high salaries despite the fact he was always moving around. Handsome, charismatic, a high-end shopper of cars and houses - the man never had to ask a woman twice for a date - or to marry him. He was a real catch. So when he pushed his way into women's lives, they wanted it. No matter if they never met his mother and father before marriage. No matter if he never introduced them to his hometown past. Who cared if they only knew him a few months? What did it signify if he was in another relationship, with children, and yet he was now making another baby with another woman, hopeful for his love - and marriage? This is a fantastic true crime story to read, and it is also one of Ann Rule's best researched. However, as far as the story itself, there are circumstances here which make this a tainted victim story for me. Cunningham was a deceiver who was difficult to arrest, partially because he never gave up struggling against his incarceration for murdering his wife. He knew the law and used it to avoid justice. The police had him high on their suspect list because no one else had motive, and his alibi was poor. The murdered woman left a note indicating she believed he might try to harm her and she was meeting him alone to get her kids from a required visitation. He was maybe the last person to be with her before she was killed. This is not a who-done-it. Everyone thought the husband killed her. Instead, this is a how the system doesn't work, and how people help killers have their fun. He moved around a lot, he lied about and hid his past from people, he had a great job and money, a good college education and a well-spoken demeanor which gave him power and authority. Nice cars, a big house, expensive clothes and an important title at a bank was more than enough to convince five beautiful women, some of whom won beauty contests, others who were doctors and professionals themselves, as well as some who were strippers and high school drop outs, to want to marry him. Most of these women quickly became pregnant shortly after they began their relationship with him, even doing so when they knew he was married or supporting another family. Even after his sadism surfaced, even when it became clear he wanted a wife only to demean her and take all of her assets, even when he was only nice in front of people until the papers for divorce were filed (at that point, he did everything he could to get them fired from their jobs, including passing out nude pictures and revealing/telling embarrassing stories about the women), the ladies protected him because of their children, and lingering hopes of love. Maybe they had no idea he was capable of murder, but they each certainly knew they had made a mistake to become involved with him after awhile. Yet, some of them had a baby or two more with him after they knew he was mean and narcissistic. Each continued to listen to his self-serving advice, sign over even more of their assets, and generally forgive him and excuse him his cruelties again and again. Ann Rule generally does a great job of explaining the circumstances around a murder. She doesn't embellish or include gratuitous violence. She uses court documents, police reports and interviews everyone connected to the people involved. She travels to hometowns, and places of birth, talking to school teachers and neighbors. She researches newspaper stories and city hall records. She is a trained journalist and a great writer. I think she writes the best true crime books. I've noticed several things about the stories of the people she selects to profile: people continue to love and support the killers even after they know the killer is a bad person. They might not believe that the killer killed, or that the thief stole anything, but they continue to support and help the suspects despite their awareness or knowledge of other bad behaviors. Some people are too stupid to live. They may have fantastic skills and be fantastically lovable, but they are too dumb to live long without offering a predator openings to take advantage. Predators sometimes attack even if you do everything right to protect yourself; they are certain to take you for everything you got if you engage in idiotically naive or self-sacrificing behaviors. The things people excuse and ignore: suspects who, while married or in a relationship with babies, makes more babies with someone else; suspects who keep getting in legal trouble again and again; suspects who beat up or terrorize other people; suspects who borrow money/cars/houses/objects and destroy/sell/lose/never return the borrowed items; suspects who show patterns of irresponsibility/self-destruction/sadism; secret or odd acquisitions or losses financially; and last but not least, peculiar rigidity/strictness in morality, cleanliness, dress, and/or punishment. If you are lonely and are desperate for a love interest, read my opinion below first and PLEASE think: People are naturally predators! Really! Love dampens down after about two years. Kids each cost at minimum about $15,000 a year to support in food, diapers, doctors, clothes, beds, car seats, toys, medicines, etc., if you REALLY want to give your children a good life. The daily stresses of jobs, kids, finances make even the most adoring couple temporarily hate each other, and sometimes those occasions of mutual hate stretch out longer and longer. During those times, people will do things to spite or hurt each other, and maybe it will be something that can't be fixed. Relationships are rarely fair over periods of time. One might discover they always do the toilets and diapers, the other may feel most of their money is going to the house and kids with nothing left over for themselves. Lack of justice and fairness is built into many relationships, and over time, may destroy the relationship, even if both of you mean well and are decent people. Love isn't enough, and if one of you only may have money it doesn't mean that person will want to share year after year, going without what they want in order to support you for the rest of your lives together. If one of you has or makes all of the money, the other one will eventually have less power and authority over decisions. Sometimes that means a lot of hostility and regret builds up despite whatever affection between the two of you. LOVE ISNT ENOUGH! Beauty isn't enough, either. Everyone becomes plainer or uglier, even in just the passing of ten years, from when they were at the height of their personal beauty. And everyone changes over time, EVERYONE. Before you quote a lot of 'truisms' at me about love and beauty, not only have I been married almost 40 years, I've seen a lot of relationships around me. Marriage is a contracted legal state, with legal financial consequences. It works best when there is mutual respect and mutual decision-making. It is, overall, at best, a working partnership between equals. If the marriage is functioning in any other way, it is not a good marriage. It almost never works if one is doing all of the work and the other one is doing all of decision-making. However, even though I think equal partnership is best, I have seen marriages work despite if one partner chooses to become a silly useless adult child, and if they think about things at all, hopes the other is taking care of everything important. While the one 'partner' functions as a giddy socialite, the other partner is doing all of the important business, and usually ends up using and/or hiding most of the assets, taking advantage of the other's intentional stupidity and blindness, while both profess deep and abiding love for each other. It definitely can work - until the one partner who is doing everything and has all of the money wants another younger, child adult partner. Rule number one: finish high school - learn how to read and write and do math really well. Rule number two: work on yourself and prepare yourself to be a functioning stand-alone adult. If you couldn't finish high school, go to community college and get your GED, no matter what. If you discover you like it, get an Associates or even a Bachelor's. No matter what. Some jobs will sponsor further education. Grow your brain and your personal resources. Keep a pot of money for emergencies that only YOU access. Take care of yourself. YOU are your own best friend and lover! Men definitely know this instinctually. Rule number three: when socializing, buy your own drinks, get them yourself, and only drink one. If someone gets you one, nurse it, go the bathroom and dump it. Hint: learn what the water-colored drinks are and order that if someone is getting a drink for you until you have met the parents of who you are with. If you want to get drunk, do it safely in your home, by yourself. Being drunk with people only means you are too stupid to live. Rule number four: if someone looks really nice and sexy, is very flattering and seems to adore you, and has a great car or clothes or house, and tells you 'everything' about themselves - CHECK OUT THEIR FAMiLY before you accept what you are hearing and seeing about this person. Take the time to see them over many many months, if not years. Always use condoms. Always tell someone or make a note of it somewhere where you going and who you are with. DO NOT ACCEPT WHAT PEOPLE TELL YOU AS PURE TRUTH, without visiting their family at some point. The best thing is to date for a couple of YEARS, not a couple of months, before trusting someone with baby-making and money. You want to see how they act, and act out, in many different situations. You can't trust your feelings, but you can trust facts. Rule number five: Ask yourself if you can give a baby a good life with your available resources by yourself FIRST. Forcing a baby into a relationship without a mutual decision is a predatory action, mostly done by females, but men do it, too. (Predatory behaviors may seem to be primarily a masculine trait, but remember predation is also part of many female strategies.) However, being predatory doesn't mean the trait puts you at the top of the food chain or make of you a person of wise choices. Mostly, it causes you to think with body parts that have nothing to do with the ones for reasoning. (Many of Rule's books mention this seemingly attractive predatory strategy often: making a baby without consulting the partner. It's plain stupid. It's not a ticket for love and a fun family life. It's a weapon to enslave you by the partner who doesn't care as much as you do about the baby at worst, or a source of resentment, rage and distrust at best. A baby conceived for the purposes of putting pressure on the partner for marriage or making the relationship stronger NEVER works in the long run.) Rule number six: read Ann Rule true crime stories.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Addison

    Brad Cunningham is like a villain in a melodrama. You can absolutely imagine him twirling his mustache and cackling as he made his wives and ex-wives miserable. He was married five times, missed successfully killing his first wife by a matter of inches and pure blind luck; married his second wife solely to help him gain custody of his children (and when that failed, divorced her basically on the spot); abandoned his third wife when she was six months pregnant, after having persuaded her to quit Brad Cunningham is like a villain in a melodrama. You can absolutely imagine him twirling his mustache and cackling as he made his wives and ex-wives miserable. He was married five times, missed successfully killing his first wife by a matter of inches and pure blind luck; married his second wife solely to help him gain custody of his children (and when that failed, divorced her basically on the spot); abandoned his third wife when she was six months pregnant, after having persuaded her to quit her job and move with him into a more expensive condo--he in fact abandoned her in the middle of the move; beat his fourth wife to death so he wouldn't have to share custody of their three sons; milked his fifth wife for everything she was worth; and persuaded the woman he wanted for wife #6 (who obstinately refused to marry him, and more power to her) to become a topless dancer to support him. And he cheated on all of them, while accusing them of cheating on him. Not to mention the emotional abuse, the stalking, the gaslighting . . . This book became mesmerizing. I kept turning pages just to see what horrible thing Cunningham would do next. And the end of the book, the civil trial for wrongful death followed by prosecution for first-degree murder, was as deeply satisfying a vindication as I've ever seen. Except for the part where Cheryl Keeton is still dead, and the people Cunningham hurt: his wives, his children, his kith and kin, everyone who loved Cheryl . . . are never not going to have a torn place in their souls where Cheryl was ripped away. Rule does an excellent job with her complicated story and cast of thousands. She's so good at explaining legal complexities that I almost don't notice how good she is at it. And I admire the way she practices compassion even as she digs for the truth. --- Cunningham lost an appeal in 2004, and I found the court's decision well worth reading.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dollie

    It’s been a long time since I read anything by Ann Rule. I’m so glad I was already married to a great guy before I ever started reading any of her books, otherwise, I would probably never trust a man enough to marry him. This one was the story of Bradley Morris Cunningham, a total scumbag if ever there was one. He treated all of his wives and children as though they were his property. I can remember dating guys (40+ years ago) who tried to tell me how I was supposed to act and what I could and c It’s been a long time since I read anything by Ann Rule. I’m so glad I was already married to a great guy before I ever started reading any of her books, otherwise, I would probably never trust a man enough to marry him. This one was the story of Bradley Morris Cunningham, a total scumbag if ever there was one. He treated all of his wives and children as though they were his property. I can remember dating guys (40+ years ago) who tried to tell me how I was supposed to act and what I could and could not say. Those guys didn’t last long. Brad Cunningham took total control of any woman he lived with. Smart women, but women who loved him so much that they supported him and his children, even though he belittled them, beat them and even one he killed. There’s not a man on earth who could have made me do some of the things this man made his wives do. Parts of this were hard for me to read as they brought back a lot of the emotional abuse my father heaped on my mother, my siblings and I, but I could not put this book down. Ann Rule writes the best true-crime novels I’ve ever read. I could not put it down. I even Googled him to be sure he's still in prison. He's 3,000 miles away, but that's not far enough.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    suspenseful. sad. and all too true. this book should be required reading for Match dot com. most people don't know much about personality disorders, but if they did, boy, would they date with caution. this guy had a bad case of narcissism and destroyed so many people's lives. once you experience this type of personality, you can spot it a mile away. ladies, read this book. bravo, ann rule!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elorra

    Especially good since my husband was one of the Houston lawyers working on this guy's lawsuit and spoke with this killer daily for weeks. Creepy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Marlene♥

    I think I do not have my copy anymore. Wait. I know. This was one of the books I read in Dutch I think. Which was why I discovered true crime books.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kimba Tichenor

    This is one of those true stories that is difficult to believe. In fact, if this had been a mystery, rather than a true crime story, I would be writing that the plot requires the suspension of disbelief. No, I am not referring to the crime, but the fact that so many women could have fallen for this man. Call me cynical, but if I were approached by a man who by the age of 35 had already gone through three wives, I would NOT be thinking this man was a great catch. The sheer number of wives would s This is one of those true stories that is difficult to believe. In fact, if this had been a mystery, rather than a true crime story, I would be writing that the plot requires the suspension of disbelief. No, I am not referring to the crime, but the fact that so many women could have fallen for this man. Call me cynical, but if I were approached by a man who by the age of 35 had already gone through three wives, I would NOT be thinking this man was a great catch. The sheer number of wives would suggest to me that this person has serious issues and I should proceed with extreme caution, or better yet, run like hell. After all, any person who describes every previous wife as a monster is probably saying more about himself than he is about the women that he married. Yet, after wife 3, there are two more wives and multiple more girlfriends. Sadly, for wife 4, her failure to see the writing on the wall and her desire to protect her children results in her murder. This was the first book that I have read by Ann Rule and overall the writing is very good. There are few places where the author provides more background information than is really needed, which at least for me diluted the suspense and tension. Still, I would definitely read another true crime by this author.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}

    Rule's books seem to be a hit or a meh with me. I over-all enjoy her books and her writing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    won from www.listia.com true story

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jamison Gordon

    Summertime, for me, is the season for sitting on my couch late at night, listening to the whirr of the ceiling fan as I devour paperback true crime novels. Something about the hot, busy days and the warm, restless nights inspires me to read chronicles of people doing horrible things to each other. Specifically, murder. You should know this: I am a slightly morbid person. I've kicked off this season with Dead By Sunset, by Ann Rule. Ann Rule is a prolific crime writer with an impressive pedigree, Summertime, for me, is the season for sitting on my couch late at night, listening to the whirr of the ceiling fan as I devour paperback true crime novels. Something about the hot, busy days and the warm, restless nights inspires me to read chronicles of people doing horrible things to each other. Specifically, murder. You should know this: I am a slightly morbid person. I've kicked off this season with Dead By Sunset, by Ann Rule. Ann Rule is a prolific crime writer with an impressive pedigree, a former Seattle cop who has worked with the FBI and the Justice Department on setting up a criminal task force. She once manned a suicide crisis hotline with a handsome and charismatic coworker who ultimately turned out to be a serial killer. That coworker was Ted Bundy. Ann Rule knows her shit. Dead By Sunset is a thorough account of the murder of successful attorney, Cheryl Keegan, by her ex-husband Brad Cunningham. As I read the book, I was surprised that I hadn't heard of him before. Brad's level of psychopathy is on a level so astounding that his relative obscurity can only be explained by the fact that he killed just one person. Had he killed more, I believe he would have gone down in the record books alongside Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. Rule's style of writing is so engaging and concise, certain details glided right by because I was so caught up in her narrative. Only later, once I'd stopped reading to reflect, did I think, "Wait, this guy did what?! Are you kidding me?" Brad Cunningham was a loathsome person. A sampling: He left his second wife, Lauren, for Cheryl Keegan when Lauren was seven months pregnant and repossessed her car when she was in the hospital giving birth to his daughter. He abandoned his three young sons alone in a secluded area for hours as punishment for losing a puzzle toy. When his fourth wife, Sara, evicted him from her home following their divorce, he changed the locks and proceeded to move out everything in the house. By everything, I mean furniture, light fixtures, towel racks, the fireplace - everything that could be ripped out or dismantled. He spent millions of dollars that weren't his. He beat his wives. He beat his children. But most horribly, he murdered his third wife - Cheryl Keegan. The book details the murder and the tireless efforts of the many, many individuals who worked to finally bring Cunningham to justice, a full six years after Cheryl's murder. I felt alternately amazed and empathetic as I read this book. So many people suffered at the hands of Brad Cunningham, and his behavior was so ludicrous it almost can't be believed. He is a stomach-turning example of a pathological narcissist, a cyclone of a sociopath who sucked up everyone in his path and spat them back out. Thankfully, (spoiler) Brad Cunningham is spending the rest of his life in Oregon State Penitentiary. I highly recommend reading this book to better understand how he got there, and why he remains with no possibility of parole. A google search turned up a book that Cunningham wrote in prison, a supposed rebuttal to Rule's account of his crimes. It's called Perfect Writer, Perfect Liar, and reviews by those who were unwise enough to actually spend money on his drivel state that it's mostly about his sex life with his former wives and girlfriends. Maybe I'll read it once I tire of true crime and yearn for some comedy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    This was much like Ann Rule's other work -- well researched and meticulous. Too much detail -- do we really have to go into everyone's background? But it was compelling and the portrait of the narcissistic Brad is spot on. What constantly astounded me, however, is that all these bright women kept falling for this jerk and then found themselves entangled with him like flies in a web. The fact that this guy married a lawyer and a doctor, both of whom he sucked dry financially (and emotionally) spe This was much like Ann Rule's other work -- well researched and meticulous. Too much detail -- do we really have to go into everyone's background? But it was compelling and the portrait of the narcissistic Brad is spot on. What constantly astounded me, however, is that all these bright women kept falling for this jerk and then found themselves entangled with him like flies in a web. The fact that this guy married a lawyer and a doctor, both of whom he sucked dry financially (and emotionally) speaks to their naivete, dependency needs, and his incredible talent at identifying women who he could manipulate. I find it hard to believe that women can fall for a jerk like this. Anyone who puts up with a guy who has to drive 3 Mercedes at once and not know that he is a self absorbed ass is just stupid. Worse, to watch him emotionally and physically abuse his kids and stay with him is just plain moronic!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ashleigh

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. So I started this book quite awhile ago as a part of my two-books-a-weed goal and it's probably taken me about three weeks to read just this one. Not because it's so insanely long or boring, but because it's so intense that you have to put it down to breath. It's not the kind of intensity where you're waiting to find out who-done-it. You know. It's intense because you're watching him get away with murder, literally; and more. The fact that it's a true story makes it even more difficult. Brad is So I started this book quite awhile ago as a part of my two-books-a-weed goal and it's probably taken me about three weeks to read just this one. Not because it's so insanely long or boring, but because it's so intense that you have to put it down to breath. It's not the kind of intensity where you're waiting to find out who-done-it. You know. It's intense because you're watching him get away with murder, literally; and more. The fact that it's a true story makes it even more difficult. Brad is a true sociopath and more. How he gets away with it seems incomprehensible, especially if you don't understand the situation. I'm lucky enough (or unlucky) to understand, and a more-minimal,-but-same-in the-big-picture basis, and the book is haunting. If he had gotten away with it in the end, this probably would have been one of the worst books, emotionally, that I've ever read. Because he didn't, it's by far one of the very, very best.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    From back cover: "...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 brutually bludgeoned body was found in her van in the fast lane of an Oregon freeway, her husband, Brad Cummingham, 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 is th From back cover: "...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 brutually bludgeoned body was found in her van in the fast lane of an Oregon freeway, her husband, Brad Cummingham, 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 is 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."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Rossman

    There I was, in Hawaii, having finished three books in a week (!) and purusing the shelf at the condo. It has been a while since I've read one of the Rule's books. I had forgotten the detail she uses, her usual inclusion of photos, and quite elaborate telling of "what happened." This is just another of her well told true crime tales. Not disappointed, engaged in the over 500 page read, and cetainly entertained. I would say despite all of that and knowing that the killer would be snagged it still There I was, in Hawaii, having finished three books in a week (!) and purusing the shelf at the condo. It has been a while since I've read one of the Rule's books. I had forgotten the detail she uses, her usual inclusion of photos, and quite elaborate telling of "what happened." This is just another of her well told true crime tales. Not disappointed, engaged in the over 500 page read, and cetainly entertained. I would say despite all of that and knowing that the killer would be snagged it still didn't measure up to say THE STRANGER BESIDE ME, which remains my fav. Ann was an accomplished police woman so squeamish beware.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    I don't know if I could ever read this book again but I certainly will never forget the story. Well written and compelling. I could not put it down. I got up in the middle of the night to read more of it and when my husband (who had gotten up to see where I had gone) walked in on me I screamed and threw the book at him. It is that suspenseful. It has been made into a movie (several times I think) and the movies are good but nothing like the book. I had a house guest who picked up this book and was I don't know if I could ever read this book again but I certainly will never forget the story. Well written and compelling. I could not put it down. I got up in the middle of the night to read more of it and when my husband (who had gotten up to see where I had gone) walked in on me I screamed and threw the book at him. It is that suspenseful. It has been made into a movie (several times I think) and the movies are good but nothing like the book. I had a house guest who picked up this book and was only staying like 48 hours. They read this book the whole time and rushed to finish before they left.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    What a saga! I'm starting to think that this kind of book should be required reading for young women, if not everyone. Bugger using fairy tales as tales of caution, this stuff is the real deal and it's way scarier. The most frustrating thing about books like this is that we are blessed with 20/20 hindsight, so you spend the entire book wanting to SLAP people, wanting to SHAKE them and scream, "Are you freaking BLIND?!?!" Nevertheless, it is always fascinating to watch a narcissist and master manip What a saga! I'm starting to think that this kind of book should be required reading for young women, if not everyone. Bugger using fairy tales as tales of caution, this stuff is the real deal and it's way scarier. The most frustrating thing about books like this is that we are blessed with 20/20 hindsight, so you spend the entire book wanting to SLAP people, wanting to SHAKE them and scream, "Are you freaking BLIND?!?!" Nevertheless, it is always fascinating to watch a narcissist and master manipulator at work. Its also damned depressing thinking about the people whose lives they ruin along the way. Either way, if you like true crime, I can't see why you wouldn't like this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    J.M.

    Not bad, but overwritten -- I mean, we get it, the guy's a jerk. But a lot of the time, the author rehashes the same issues, which doesn't move the story forward at all. And maybe it's me, but I have difficulty believing NO ONE saw the "true" side of him. We're not just talking one wife, but four. I think I prefer her short pieces instead.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joyce Jellison

    Any books I have read by Ann Rule were my feeble, inept attempts at feeding my bloodlust. She sucks..plain and simple. I have read her books and I am not proud.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Fishface

    This one was OK. It didn't leave much of an impression on me. Hard to pick out from the other Ann Rule books on exactly the same topic, with only the names and the method of the murderer changed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    3.5 Stars. This is the first book by Ann Rule I have either read or listened to and I was engrossed from the start. Part of that, I admit, is because I know exactly where this took place, as I've driven by there countless times without ever knowing it was the scene of such a heinous crime. In September 1986, Cheryl Keaton was found brutally beaten to death in her car on Portland's busy Sunset Highway, in what appeared to be a botched attempt at a staged traffic accident, which if it had been succ 3.5 Stars. This is the first book by Ann Rule I have either read or listened to and I was engrossed from the start. Part of that, I admit, is because I know exactly where this took place, as I've driven by there countless times without ever knowing it was the scene of such a heinous crime. In September 1986, Cheryl Keaton was found brutally beaten to death in her car on Portland's busy Sunset Highway, in what appeared to be a botched attempt at a staged traffic accident, which if it had been successful, would have likely killed more than just Cheryl. Convinced her estranged husband (Brad Cunningham) was going to kill her to get custody of their three sons (having already lost custody of three children from previous relationships), suspicion naturally turned to him but he wasn't arrested for the crime until years later due to a lack of evidence, despite Cheryl's last words, so to speak, being a note she'd gone to meet him to pick up their kids and his first words upon hearing of her death were to ask if it was a car accident. It would be years before Brad was brought to trial, first in civil court and then criminal for Cheryl's murder. What was painted in the book between those years was quite the story of Brad's trail of wives (three before Cheryl, one after) peppered with years of abuse. Brad really was a piece of work! Good looking, athletic, a natural gift for women - he had it all, but it wasn't enough: all he really wanted was custody of his children. Not because he was a doting father - he didn't care about the kids - he just wanted what was his. And Cheryl paid the ultimate price because of it. My biggest disappointment in this book was finding out after the fact I had listened to the abridged version. But it told quite the tale and makes me wonder what possibly could have been left out and would I benefit from picking up the paperback version too? This was my first Ann Rule book but it will not be my last - I already have two more on hold at the library!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kailey

    Three literal stars, five metaphorical stars.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    For true crime, you can't beat Ann Rule. An almost unbelievable tale of marital abuse and financial fraud. This was turned into a TV movie back in the 80s. Highly recommended for true-crime fans.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Warber

    Pretty good A bit to repetitive in areas. Would have liked to read some of the letters after he was in jail.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Diane Lewis

    Every once in awhile I take a break from historical fiction and dip into an old favorite, true crime. This book had me rivited, but cringing at the same time. This husband, Brad, was a sociopath of the first order, and the women he charmed excused his behavior when they should have ran screaming into the night to get away from him. They finally did, but it took the proverbial huge smack-or several smacks-upside the head. I did pity them, especially the one who was murdered. But here is a tip, whe Every once in awhile I take a break from historical fiction and dip into an old favorite, true crime. This book had me rivited, but cringing at the same time. This husband, Brad, was a sociopath of the first order, and the women he charmed excused his behavior when they should have ran screaming into the night to get away from him. They finally did, but it took the proverbial huge smack-or several smacks-upside the head. I did pity them, especially the one who was murdered. But here is a tip, when you know your husband, or ex-husband, is a brutal maniac (as she did by this time), don't ever meet him alone in a deserted spot! A gripping journey into extreme narcissism, and the vulnerability of even intelligent, professional women.

  27. 5 out of 5

    SouthWestZippy

    On September 21, 1986 Cheryl Keeton is found murdered in her van leaving behind three young sons. Her Ex husband Brad Cunningham is the likely suspect even though he has a new wife Sara. Typical story about about a Man would wants to control everything and everyone and when he can't he goes off. I did not care for the set up or structure of the book.Found it to be long and drawn out and repetitive in parts. I will give it three stars because I did find the horrific story interesting and you coul On September 21, 1986 Cheryl Keeton is found murdered in her van leaving behind three young sons. Her Ex husband Brad Cunningham is the likely suspect even though he has a new wife Sara. Typical story about about a Man would wants to control everything and everyone and when he can't he goes off. I did not care for the set up or structure of the book.Found it to be long and drawn out and repetitive in parts. I will give it three stars because I did find the horrific story interesting and you could tell a lot of research was done putting it all together.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jlsimon

    This book makes the reader want to look up the players. I'd like to know more about the people now, how the lives of Sarah and the boys turned out. Brad Cunningham with any luck will spend his life paying for how he treated the women who loved him, from mother and sister, to wives, daughter, and girlfriends. He's a creep in the first order.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kate Ayers

    Best true crime writer around. This case is especially interesting, as it occurred here in Portland. If you were here in the mid 80s, you might remember a news story about a minivan which mysteriously shot from a side street onto Sunset Highway, crossing all lanes of traffic and coming to rest at the guardrail. Nice try, but no one hit it. So how did the person inside die? It is truly scary.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Dead by Sunset was the first true crime story I've read. This book grabbed me instantly. The main character was so vile, so narcissistic and repulsive and became even more so when I remembered that he is real & not made up through the authors imagination. It is a very sad story of abuse with unfortunately the same typical ending for the wife.

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