Get Your Free Audiobook

Dead by Sunset

Perfect Husband, Perfect Killer?
By: Ann Rule
Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
Length: 20 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

Non-member price: $41.45

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

The shocking tale from true crime queen Ann Rule.

Who is Brad Cunningham? How could five beautiful, intelligent, and successful women believe he was their dream come true? Ask any women who ever longed for "the perfect man".

Loni Ann, Cynthia, Lauren, Cheryl, and Sara seemed to have it all - beauty, wealth, children, and a husband who they believed to be this perfect man - Brad Cunningham. He was handsome, charismatic, and mysterious. They adored him and tried to give him all he wanted. But he wanted everything: sex, money, and it seemed, their very lives. How long would it take before he finally got what he deserved?

This question haunts Dead by Sunset, Ann Rule's riveting and impeccably researched study of the destructive relationships, multiple marriages, financial manipulations, and monstrous acts of harassment and revenge that surrounded Brad Cunningham and his wives. It is also a penetrating - and ultimately shocking - recreation of Cheryl's murder and the eight years it took to bring her killer to justice.

Dead by Sunset is a chilling look at the evil that lurks behind the most charming of facades and a fascinating homage to the kind of courage and brilliance it takes to combat it.

©2008 Ann Rule (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"Rule provides a perceptive character analysis of a malignant, self-centered, charismatic con artist. It's a chilling, haunting portrait." ( Publishers Weekly)
"The similarities with the O.J. case are compelling." ( The Spokesman-Review)
"Fascinating material.... Ms. Rule admirably recounts this labyrinthine tale. ( The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    17
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Murder Mystery

I felt the book took to long to introduce the characters and very long winded. 6 Part book could have been reduced to 4. Other than that a good read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating though not without faults

The story - another beguiling sociopathic narcissist controls and bullies all the women in his life and can't cope when one by one they break away, ultimately leading to him killing the mother of three of his children - is engrossing. Bradly Morris Cunningham is a fascinating study for anyone interested in personality disorders, with his inflated ego and underlying hatred of women. Even today, in the face of all contrary evidence he proclaims his innocence from his jail cell, continuing to blame the whole world as conspiring against him. Ann Rule does a great job of recreating the case but at times the audiobook suffers from too much detail - things are repeated, life histories of peripheral characters are delved into in detail and so on. The book could have actually been improved by some serious editing.

That said, that wasn't my biggest bugbear about this book. It was actually the narrator. Richard Ferrone is fine with his deep rolling voice... until he has to narrate something a female would have said. Then he breaks into a prim falsetto which makes even the most intelligent character (for example his fifth wife, with the pseudonym of Sara Gordon, was a senior doctor, while the murdered ex-wife was a much revered attorney) sound like a ditzy schoolgirl. I simply can't bear to hear it again so won't be buying any of his other narrations.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great book!

well written and highly engaging right through. I was invested in the story and characters right up until the end.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tracy
  • 28-08-2011

Great true crime, Great narration.

Really enjoyed this true crime book. This was my first Ann Rule novel and I was impressed. Ann uses her story telling skills along with her well researched facts to tell a great tale. The narrator was great. On Audible after the initial review, reviews often follow that are similar in content, and I wonder if this is what has happened with reviews regarding the narrator because he does a fabulous job here. Do not be disuaded.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lily
  • 28-01-2013

My house is clean, my dogs are exhausted!

What made the experience of listening to Dead by Sunset the most enjoyable?

This book was so engrossing! I got a lot done during the many hours I listened to the book; scrubbing, weeding and long dog-walks were my excuse to keep listening until it was done!

Ann Rule's books have been my guilty pleasure for years. I don't really go for true crime books EXCEPT for hers. The level of detail is so fine that I wonder HOW she is able to get so close to the participants in the stories she tells. And she tells the stories with great respect and regard for the victims. She must be a remarkably compassionate and sincere woman.

The story itself is almost unbelievable! If it were fiction, I’d probably toss it aside, thinking it was too far-fetched. How could so many smart, attractive women fall for the likes of Brad Cunningham?!

I’ve read that Ann Rule is not so interested in the “big” stories like Casey Anthony or OJ Simpson; instead she likes to find stories that might not otherwise be told. Thank goodness for that! Casey and OJ stories are ubiquitous; this story, like all of Ann Rule’s stories, is well told, fascinating and might not have been told had Ann Rule not been interested in the case.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I think outrage, fury and frustration would better describe the reactions I had while listening to the book. I wonder, if someone observed me during my dog walks, if it would look as if I were mad at my dogs!

33 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julia
  • 30-09-2016

Took My Breath Away.

I knew nothing about this case and actually managed to refrain from doing any research either before or during listening to this really enjoyable book.

I consider the late Anne Rule one of the 'Greats' when it comes to the "True Crime' genre as her research cannot be faulted. However this being said I am not a fan of her compendium volumes. I am pretty sure that these 'five murders in a book' idea must be her publisher's idea as I run in the other direction when I see them coming. So when I saw this volume I just had to read it.

So many books of this genre seem to take a chapter or two to 'get going'. Not this one! Had me at the first page. I read another reviewer who said that she had a really clean house and that all of of laundry and ironing was done because she could not stop listening. Well I too have turned into quite the Martha Stewart for the very same reason. Totally compelling!

If you want to read/listen to a story about a skilled manipulator who always appears to be level headed, caring, responsible and kind who can chose intelligent women and slowly chip away not only at their self esteem but at their very being then this is the book for you. But be aware as this justice does prevail and as the old saying goes 'Revenge is a dish best served cold'.

I am looking forward to a few months to pass by so that I can listen to it again.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robyn
  • 29-07-2013

triumph of true crime writing

This book has it all - plot, characters, surprises, suspense, rollercoaster of emotions - sadness, horror, sympathy, amazement, incredulity, frustration, anger. In short, the book has everything you could want to keep you interested. I took every opportunity to do something during which I could keep listening. I was a bit taken aback for the first few minutes by Richard Ferrone's narration but after a very short time I loved his voice and his presentation. He's just right for this book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Justin
  • 20-04-2013

Wow, this was well done

I cannot add much to all the great reviews, well done book with no dull spots. Spend that credit and you will be happy you did.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Greta
  • 01-06-2017

Longer isn't always better

I'm a fan of Anne Rule's books and especially true crime. However the depth and research she went into regarding this story at times left me very bored and fast forwarding. At least 5-8 chapters could have been cut and others tended to drag on. The story itself was very interesting but felt it could have been better formatted.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • D
  • 22-08-2016

Another gem by Ann Rule

I love Ann Rule, so I'm biased. But she was a master researcher, gathering just enough details about the lives of the victims and perpetrators to paint a truly complete picture of the crime. This is the story of a true sociopath and his master manipulation of the many, many women in his life (including his own daughter). Hilariously, the perpetrator self published a rebuttal to this book. I haven't read it but the online reviews suggest it's more a run down of his sexual conquests than proof of his claimed innocence.

The performance is great; he has an awesome voice and it kept me totally engaged.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeff
  • 04-09-2012

Wasn't crazy about narration, Story terrific tho

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I absolutely would recommend this book. If you're a fan of true crime, you will enjoy it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dead by Sunset?

Over and over being bewildered at what an )@&*(# Brad Cunningham was to just about everyone around him, PARTICULARLY his wives and children. A classic psychopath.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Get a new voice? Seriously, the reading was well done, but I tired of his voice very quickly, which is a problem when you have to spend that amount of time listening to someone.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

You do NOT want to marry this man!

Any additional comments?

Overall, I liked this book, finished it quickly, and was satisfied with the outcome.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Monterey
  • 02-11-2018

I have never listen to a book where I thought they were talking about me.

I can’t say no I appreciate the fact that he is in prison for the rest of his life. I too went through the same exact thing except for my monster never went to prison !! No he still roaming Northwest here in Oregon Yamhill county to be exact! I didn’t know her but I felt like I knew her strong woman actually all of them are! Are used to feel like a victim now I feel like a warrior ! I just wanna say thank you to everybody I feel like my monster got convicted to even know he’s roaming!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wildirishman64
  • 07-03-2016

Such an interesting case!!! Must listen

What did you love best about Dead by Sunset?

I think I enjoyed the cumulative efforts on the part of the defense attorneys and prosecutor who didn't give up on this case!

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The history of his failed marriages, the insidious way in which Brad manipulated everyone around him including his own children.

Which character – as performed by Richard Ferrone – was your favorite?

Brad, he conveyed just how devious Brad Cunningham was and his evil intent.

If you could give Dead by Sunset a new subtitle, what would it be?

A TRUE SOCIOPATH

Any additional comments?

Great book by Ann Rule, one of my top three writers on true crime. Expertly done Ms. Rule.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Margaret
  • 11-06-2011

Fan of Author, Fan of Reader

Dead by Sunset
Like all of “Ann Rule’s” true crime books, this is unput downable
Nothing skipped or left out. For those of us that like to know all the characters and we can look them up on the Web now, it is sheer joy
A full study of a controlling psychopath, one can find this personality in any good psychological pathology book. Are they born? Or are they made so by the parent (in this case Bradley Cunningham’s father)
One of the best narrators around “Richard Ferrone” really brings this book to life

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • sonia
  • 30-01-2012

excellent!

I downloaded this onto my i pod and it had me hooked from the start - fantastic, fascinating and so detailed you could just picture each of the characters in this. Brad Morris Cunningham, had all the charm, good looks and gift of being such a master manipulator that the most educated and strongest women fell under his spell. He was such an unpleasant man - his hatred of women showed in every aspect of his behavour, his denial of his Native American heritage, only ever acknowledging it when it suited him (money), his dismissive arrogance with regards to the law was breathtaking and I felt so, so sorry for all of his children to have been burdened with a father like that, but as far as he was concerned that was the normal way to treat women and children were just a commodity he learned that behaviour from his own father and grandfather. Thank goodness for the support of his ex-wife Sara who never stopped loving Cheryl's sons and being there for them and Cheryl's family, friends and colleagues who relentlessly never stopped until justice was done for her and her children also the strength that the ex-wives and partners managed to find to finally stand up to him - Brad Cunningham was evil to the core and is probably still denying to this day that he murdered his wife because he so believes his lies. Prison is too good a place for him.

Loved it, loved it, loved it - Ann Rule does it again but I would really like to know how the Cunningham children are doing now away and free from his tyranny.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • judith
  • 16-08-2013

first rate yarn

This excellent story never loses it's capacity to grip from the first page to the last..At first, I felt vaguely uneasy enjoying a true crime story so much, but it is so well-written and well-read. The research is thorough, but not so much that it becomes boring or tedious. It's definitely worth revisiting. The writer should be very proud of such a thoroughly good book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jillybuns
  • 04-05-2015

Exceptional listen!

I have listened to this twice now & both times found it absolutely riveting! The attention to detail & what can only be described as superb investigative story telling makes this a MUST READ for all lovers of True Crime. Loved it from start to finish.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Miss
  • 25-03-2015

Excellent narrator and ann rule is a great writer

I enjoy true crime especially those you can research further after reading.
Great content as always, thoroughly investigated.
The narration was just to my liking and kept me enthralled.
What an evil man and totally delusional! I hope Cheryl's children continue to remember their mother and their family continue to support them.
I hope he rots.
I'm now an official ann rule fan.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jennifer
  • 28-07-2012

Dead By Sunset

This is by far one of the best books i have listened to by far,its gripping,unbelievable,disturbing,i could go on i could not stop listening to this story.
I love true crime,but i do not remember this case,you will find yourself wanting to rip Brad Cunningham's head off,He was a total control freak,the court case is fascinating,its funny and sad i found myself crying,i will google this case now,if you like true crime then please listen to this book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jude Bailey
  • 26-02-2016

If you value your sleep, don't buy this book!

If you could sum up Dead by Sunset in three words, what would they be?

Could not stop listening!

What other book might you compare Dead by Sunset to, and why?

'Son' by Jack Olsen

What about Richard Ferrone’s performance did you like?

although the american accent took a bit of getting used to - it wasn't grating

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Can't say as will be a spoiler if you haven't read it yet

Any additional comments?

If you have had to deal with a narcissist or just find the subject fascinating, get this book. You will not be disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gill Connolly
  • 30-11-2017

Always great books with Ann

Another wonderful book from Ann rule. She writes true crime like no other. Dead by sunset is captivating. If it was a physical book I wouldn't have been able to put it down. I couldn't stop listening. I wish audible had a bigger selection of her work especially the stranger beside me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • caroline
  • 21-02-2016

Absolutely riveting

Any additional comments?

I am a big fan of Richard Ferrone and his narration of the Lucas Davenport series. So to jump from fiction to non-fiction with Mr Ferrone as the narrator was not hard. At 20 hours long you might think its going to be a long winded account of an evil twisted sadistic narcissistic man who preyed on intelligent, beautiful but rather naive women. But do not be swayed, this is a terrific audio book. I listened to it whenever I had the chance completely enthralled by the narrative and extraordinary tale which unfolds. It is hard to believe its based on fact and many times during this audio I wanted to get these women and shake them to make them see sense. But hindsight is a powerful weapon and perhaps if you were on the receiving end of such a person, you may have acted differently. Excellent book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • S. Witherby
  • 18-04-2019

Asleep by Sunset more like

Took a very long time to not feel endlessly repetitious, to a point where I actually thought I'd gone back a couple of chapters... Author is thorough yet somehow this lacks any sense of pace until the last hour or so of the trial, where we really got to see how Brad's narcissism worked in public.