Bound In Silence cover

Bound In Silence

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by Christena Stephens
True Crime / Texas History / Nonfiction
Publisher: Stoney Creek Publishing
Publication Date: February 26, 2024
Page Count: 286 pages


Image of Bound In Silence cover.

On a nearly moonless night in October 1943, a single gunshot rang out in Littlefield, Texas. A prominent Texas doctor and his wife were found bound, shot, beaten, and murdered. The only witness: their five-year-old daughter, who was bound to silence and refused to speak about what happened for 70 years.

The heinous crime remains unsolved. For years, the courts tried to convict one suspect, but forensic evidence contradicted the prosecution’s case. Investigators, including the famed Texas Rangers, failed to bring anyone to justice.

Eight decades later, the questions linger over the plains of the Texas Panhandle: who killed the Hunts and why?

Author and historian Christena Stephens spent more than a decade researching the Hunt murders, re-examining every twist and turn in the legal process, uncovering new evidence, and drawing new conclusions about who might have been responsible. She also convinced Jo Ann Hunt to break 70 years of silence and tell her story for the first time. Armed with Jo Ann’s account, Stephens takes the reader back to that deadly night and through the years of trauma that followed.

Why did the criminal justice system repeatedly fail to bring anyone to justice? What could have scared a 5-year-old girl into a lifetime of silence? What did investigators miss? And most importantly, who killed Roy and Mae Hunt?

Bound in Silence is a true crime tour-de-force, a meticulously researched, impeccably told tale of unsolved murder on the High Plains.

"What could have scared a 5-year-old girls into a lifetime of silence? What did investigators miss? And most importantly, who killed Roy and Mae Hunt?" Bound In Silence by Christena Stephens

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Lone Star Book Blog Tour Book Review: Bound In Silence


Clueless Gent’s Rating for Bound In Silence

4 star rating

Bound In Silence is a very fascinating and detailed look into the unsolved murder of a distinguished couple in Texas during the twentieth century. The level of detail painstakingly documented in this volume is amazing.

This is the true story (nonfiction) of the gruesome murder of Dr. Roy Hunt and his wife Mae in their Littlefield, Texas, home on October 26, 1943. Saying it’s the “story of” the murders is a misnomer; there were no actual witnesses to the crime, save for their five-year-old daughter, who only briefly saw the killer before she was thrown into a closet. Thus, in reality, this book looks into the investigation of the murders and so much more.

There are many things I love about this book, and a couple (as in “two”) of other things that bothered me a bit. I’ll do my best to highlight all of that in this review.

First, I love the fact that the author took it upon herself to tell this story! It is truly heartbreaking that the investigation into these grisly murders has never been solved and no one has ever been punished. In my opinion, it is the travesty of all travesties of justice when someone literally gets away with murder.

There are so many “moving parts” to this story that I can’t even comprehend how to go about not only organizing it, but putting it in a book for others to understand. I do feel that the book could have been a bit better organized (this is one of those two other things I previously mentioned). However, that being said, I have absolutely no recommendations on how to do that. Maybe a story like this can only be represented in this way. There was a lot of repetition with some of the details of the investigation. That may well have been intentional. This is just my opinion.

“Amongst all the stacks of paper, chaos is where the truth of the story lies.”

Something else I love about this book was the inclusion of key players and a timeline. When a book has a lot of characters, my eyes eventually begin to gloss over when the names of minor characters are mentioned. Thus, having the key players identified in the beginning of the book makes the process of trying to remember everyone much easier. Similarly, the timeline is a great reference. The author included several tangents throughout the text, and having this tool available made it easier for me to see where, in the grand scheme of things, something was taking place.

The photos! This book would not have been nearly as enjoyable without the photos. It’s one thing to describe a tragic murder scene, but it’s something else entirely to see photos of it. Further, with so many players, having a face to connect with a name made it easier for me.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a nonfiction book where the author did a better job of not only presenting the facts, but also of explaining how the facts were obtained. To say that this story is markedly researched is a true understatement.

I happen to love historical Texas tidbits, and this book has some! For example, I never knew that it was typical policy in Texas counties at the time of this story to allow the widow of the sheriff to complete his term if he was killed in the line of duty. Also, one of the Rangers investigating this case was included in the ambush that killed Bonnie and Clyde.

In the Afterword this author basically tells the reader what’s taken place between the time of the story and now. Who died, who moved, and who divorced are some of the things discussed. It was a great way of adding some closure to something that was never really closed.

There are other things I love about this book, but I feel this review is already getting a bit wordy, thus it’s time to identify the second “other thing” I previously mentioned.

The punctuation and grammar in this text are clearly in need of overhaul. That is not to say the book is unreadable. I enjoyed it very much. I don’t fault the author with this, but the editors. I know it’s ultimately the author’s responsibility for everything in the book, but I’m still just amazed at how well the author put everything together in the story. Here’s an example I like to use: I have a friend who plays piano. He can’t read music, but he can play wonderfully! He has the gift! This author also has the gift. Enough said.

If you love true crime or Texas history, you’ll love this book. I heartily recommend it to everyone!

I received a free copy of Bound In Silence from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are my own.

the Author

Author Christena Stephens Photo

Christena Stephens is a native Texan growing up amongst cotton fields and spending time exploring the nature of the Llano Estacado. After earning two Master of Science degrees, she started a project to preserve ahistorical Texas ranch, thus began her interest in history, research, and writing. She did not intend to be a historian but was mentored by the best Texas historians. Several of her writings have been published in anthologies, along with her photographs. In science and history, truths need to be accurately told. That is her mission-truth and authenticity. She still resides on the Llano Estacado enjoying sunsets and chance porcupine encounters. She is an ardent advocate of wildlife conservation and her heart belongs to her dogs.


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