Review: Bound in Silence, by Christena Stephens

BNR Bound in Silence

 

About the book, Bound in Silence Cover Bound in Silence

  • Genre: True Crime / Texas History / Nonfiction
  • Publisher: Stoney Creek Publishing
  • Page Count: 286 pages
  • Publication Date: February 26, 2024
  • Scroll down for a giveaway!

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.

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Purchase Link | Goodreads


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About the author, Christena Stephens Author Photo Stephens Bound in Silence

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.

Connect with Christena:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Amazon | Goodreads | X/Twitter | LinkedIn


My Thoughts MelissaBartell - photo

Christena Stephens’s new book, Bound in Silence is where true crime, history, and creative non-fiction all meet to form a whole that is both a gripping story and a grisly one.

In this case, this book really tells two stories, the first is a murder mystery taken from the pages of Texas history: the death by shooting of a doctor (Roy Hunt) and his wife (Mae). And author Stephens takes down a well-researched and equally well-written path of whodunnit, and why, and how.

The second story is that of the Hunt’s older daughter, JoAnn, who was in the room (albeit stuffed in a closet) while her parents were being murdered. For decades, she kept silent, scared into event-specific muteness, until the author got her story.

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Stephens’s narrative style is straight to the point without being dull or dry. Her photographer’s eye comes in handy – her descriptions of people and places, while taken from photos and press clippings – feel cinematic. Her choice of topic is a compelling one, because it gives a glimpse into the psychology of childhood trauma and fear, as well as into the gory events themselves.

Overall, this is a well-crafted account, and deserving of a lot of notice.

Goes well with: a whiskey flight and Texas barbecue.


Giveaway

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One thought on “Review: Bound in Silence, by Christena Stephens

  1. Great review, as always! I really am looking forward to settling in and getting lost in this story for a few days.

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