‘I spend a great deal of time in my car getting to and from work. As I can’t read or watch my usual crime stuff while I’m driving, I fuel my addiction through the medium of creepy podcasts. These are my top true crime podcasts of 2019…’
The Thing About Pam
This podcast, from the Dateline crew, had me slack-jawed. The story surrounds the tragic murder of Betsy Farria and the subsequent conviction of her husband. The facts of the case don’t point towards him as the culprit and, even with a water tight alibi and zero motive, Russ Farria was jailed for life.
The most worrying thing about the podcast is the fact that the Police and Prosecutor were so single minded. They refused to accept any other suspect – even when faced with a viable alternative whose story changed by the hour. Not only that, but the other suspect was the only person to profit from the murder. It’s a truly mind-blowing sorry that will keep you up at night, worried about the competence of your own Law Enforcement agency. *shudders*
This is my go-to ‘cast and I love that it explores true crime and the darker history of Canada. Not knowing much about the seedy and dangerous side of Canada, I’m constantly shocked by some of the cases reported.
Mike (narrator and founder) and Scott (co-presenter) have a great relationship and their empathy for victims and families is touching. The guys also have zero interest in reporting the really graphic aspects of specific crimes., which makes them a refreshing listen.
The Murder Squad
I’m not gonna lie; I’m a teeny bit in love with retired Criminologist, Paul Holes. When I heard he was teaming up with Billy Jensen for this ‘cast, I subscribed before the first episode even dropped.
My #HotforHoles obsession aside (he could read the phone book and I’d listen), the cases covered range from infamous to largely unknown. The unique aspect of The Murder Squad is the hosts asking the audience to investigate unsolved cases and provide any information or leads they may have. It kinda makes me wish I lived in the US. There aren’t a great deal of unsolved murders here in rural North Wales.
There are very few Casefile episodes I haven’t been hooked on. The fact that the host is anonymous merely adds to the overall appeal of the stories, along with the fact that cases are primarily Australian and largely unknown to me.
The exception in 2019 was the multiple part series on the murders of Ivan Millat. I thought I knew the story but, it turns out, I knew nothing. I binge-listened to all five episodes while decorating my spare bedroom over the course of a weekend. Not only was I shocked by the length of time Millat had been carrying out his killing spree, but also that his family members tried to help him by altering evidence.
Broken: Jeffrey Epstein
I downloaded this six-part series on a whim. I didn’t really expect to enjoy it that much as it’s not the usual true crime podcast I go for. Not knowing too much about the whole sorry saga, I was immediately intrigued about how Epstein managed to get away with his laundry list of crimes for quite so long.
I was even more shocked about the collusion of Ghislaine Maxwell and the many high-profile friends (Prince Andrew being one of very few who has been widely reported) who may know more than they’ll ever admit. It’s a really excellent but heartbreaking abuse of power and trust against a string of vulnerable young women why are finally fighting back.
This is a total departure from the usual true-crime podcast in that it’s based around the story of a prolific serial killer’s daughter. Having lived a fairly chaotic life, where her and her siblings moved frequently between cities and states during her childhood, this ‘cast details the uneasy feeling April Balascio had that her father might be a murderer. After pushing the feeling to the side for years, she finally got to the stage where she couldn’t any longer, and began to assist law enforcement with enquiries about multiple slayings carried out by her father, Edward Wayne Edwards.
The story is told from the point of view of April and sheds a rare light on the families of offenders and how they learn to cope with atrocities that they’re tarnished with through association. April is a strong, fearless woman and it’s hard to not to feel sorry for what she’s been through, living with an authoritarian and cruel father. However, she’s also the reason that so much information has been received by Police.
Evil Has A Name
Based on the 40-year-old case of the Golden State Killer, this podcast comes from Audible’s vaults and was a huge hit in 2019. It’s based in a book of the same name, but I opted for this because the book wasn’t available to buy in the UK. Although I’ve researched the case extensively (and by that I mean I’ve watched every documentary going and read I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara), I still picked up a good deal of info from this.
The difference with this podcast is that the case was solved by the time it was released. This means it filled in the blanks that no one else could. Also, it didn’t hurt AT ALL that Paul Holes was interviewed frequently throughout. Honestly, if he hadn’t retired already, there’s every chance I’d be committing a string of crimes over in Contra Costa County rn.
What are your favourite true-crime podcasts of 2019?