DEAD BY SUNSET

PERFECT HUSBAND, PERFECT KILLER?

Sufficiently creepy stuff from the master of true crime: This book is better-plotted than the murder itself. Rule (Small Sacrifices, 1987, etc.) begins her latest on an Oregon highway at rush hour, a van with blood-spattered windows and an empty infant seat stalled crosswise in the left-hand lane. The dead woman inside leads to ex-husband Brad Cunningham, whose personal history leans decidedly toward the shady. Cunningham married five times before the age of 40, his aggressive charm and permanent dissatisfaction leading him to dozens of women. Thick-necked, well-dressed, and possessed of enough stamina to spend every penny earned by whomever he found himself married to, Cunningham cut a formidable figure. But it was controlling his children, especially his sons, that really mattered to him. Always a collector, Cunningham amassed trucks, lavish homes, and babies at a frenetic pace, but former wives maintained their distance and kept the children hidden whenever Brad came calling. It is only after her three boys are born that fourth wife Cheryl Keeton recognizes the danger of being Brad's wife. Their vitriolic separation is a textbook case in ugly splits, and it is rendered in gossipy, depressing, and mesmeric detail. When police find Cheryl's body battered beyond recognition in the van, Brad is the obvious suspect. Rule keeps the reader's expectations roiling during the years it takes Oregon police to solve the crime, and the life she examines is indeed a strange one. Cunningham's eccentricities gradually alchemize into evil, and the murder trialin which he defends himselfis pure lunacy. Not enough forensic detail for the blood-and-fiber crowd, but this is a terrific read and a moving tale that ends with a strange redemption. (32 pages b&w photos, 1 map, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-684-80205-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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