Category Archives: Unanswered Justice

A true crime nonfiction book on a 1943 double murder I’ve researched and written. Seeking a publisher.

The Writing and Titling of the Hunt Book

To only be able to go back through a door of history to see the truth of history in the certain time.

Sooooo – I’ve been writing and research the true crime story of the Hunt murders for seven years. I thought I was done in the fall of 2016, but feedback on the manuscript suggested I was not before it goes off to another publishing house. While the edits were minor they improved the flow of the story. One university press had the book for over year before they came back without even reading the book and said, “It needs more work.” The book itself has been revised 18 times since I put all the research into a book format.

From the beginning of placing the thousands of research pages into chapters, those chapters have been moved around, large amounts of text have been relocated to other chapters and I edited out a lot of nonessential wording.

Many people don’t understand the process of writing a nonfiction book or any book for that matter. It is one thing to revise a blog post, a research paper or even an article and a 300 + page revision of a book is overwhelming. I will admit that even during my many revisions I found new errors and even identified errors in spelling of names throughout the book.

The last person to give me an honest read-through feedback liked the writing and the story. She even came up with her own questions regarding the murders. She’s read true crime books and mysteries all her life, so I trust her. Another reader offered her insights about not including my side stories of my research process or even putting them at the end. That suggestion I’m still considering.

The title of the book has evolved over time, yet nothing I came up with really sat well with me. The proposed titles never seemed to jump off the page and connect the complicated story of this journey. A recently proposed title of “A Journey from Small Town Murder to Mystery” may be the perfect fit. The book is a documentary of the attempted murder of Dr. Roy Hunt, the actual Hunt murders, along with all the trials, along with the murder of the sheriff whose trial ties into the Hunt murders in the most unique way.

Thank you to the friends who’ve given me honest feedback. A Journey from Small Town Murder to Mystery – may be the title this book has long needed…

Onward.

Tiny Murder House

hunt-home-dec-2016

 

“Dang, that’s a tiny house!”

Those were the first words a friend said a few weeks ago when we drove by the former Hunt home in Littlefield, Texas. We were driving north to see Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Hereford, Texas and she wanted to see the house.

“Dang, that’s a tiny house!” She said it more than once since seeing the home.

From the descriptions she’s read she was under the impression the house was much larger, as well as it being a doctor’s home. But alas the “tiny home” as she fondly calls it now was only a five-room brick house. It was grand for the early 1940s era. It was built in the late 1920s.

On this trip in December 2016, we discovered the renters who were renting the home a few years ago are now long gone. The house stands vacant. The front bedroom where the murders took place has no blinds or curtains. From the open windows, you can see a variety of boxes scattered across the room. The only change to the property is a red mailbox mounted to a post by the curb.

Dr. Roy and Mae Hunt were murdered in this “tiny” home in October 1943. When you realize how small the front bedroom was – about 10 x 10 – it takes your breath away and then you sigh and wonder how in the hell two people were murdered in such a little room with a double bed, dressers, tables, and chair. Even the small closet was so minuscule that it barely held a few clothes at best. The room’s only saving unique feature was that it had two entry doors. Also, four glass pane windows allowed both northern and eastern sunlight into the room.

Since beginning this research on these murders I’ve monitored this “tiny house” and have watched it slowly deteriorate over the years.

From my one visit inside the structure, it is almost as if time has stood still inside except for several coats of white or off-white paint. Almost meaning the little fireplace has not worked in years. The candlelight fixtures mounted to the sides of the fireplace are only remnants. The bathroom no longer has a sink. New front and back screen doors have been added. A crappy layer of old carpet covers the wooden floors. The cabinets, doors, doorknobs, and kitchen sink have never been touched.

This former Hunt home endures in a state of arrested decay. I wonder how long it will remain in its decaying state before eventually falling in on itself. Then only photographs and memories of it will be proof of the house’s existence.

Alas, I’ll always see this structure now as a “tiny house.”

My research into the murders and attempted murder has spanned six years. My book is now complete on the murders. It needs a tad more editing to keep perfecting it. I’ll start searching for a publishing company in February.

 

Photograph – © Christena Stephens Photography