Wednesday, 5 December 2018

True Crime Podcasts I’m OBSESSED With

’Tis the season to be jolly! Fa la la la la and all that! BUT, forever being a contrarian, I’m not quite ready for all this festiviness. It just feels too early in the year, and I don’t feel like I made the most of Halloween. I didn’t even watch Hocus Pocus this year guys! I KNOW! So now, in the midst of all this Christmassyness (not a word but I'm going with it!) I'm just not feeling it yet. I haven't decked the halls, I have yet to watch The Grinch or The Nightmare Before Christmas or Elf, and I haven't even been keeping up with I'm a Celebrity in a timely manner (sidenote: Nick Knowles x Biffy Clyro is fucking hilarious!)... it's like it's not even Christmas at all.

Instead, I've been embracing the bleak midwinter - be more emo, Lauren, I dare you! - and consuming all of the true crime podcasts that I can handle. Come January I'll regret this grinchiness but for now I'm quite content being a ghoul and listening to all these grisly crime podcasts. It's the worst kind of voyeurism, luckily, due to the sheer volume of true crime podcasts in existence, I'm definitely not the only one who finds murder fascinating. Anyway, if you like me aren't quite ready for Santa Claus to be coming to town - literally, never, ever thought I would type those words - then here's a list of some of my absolute favourite true crime podcasts to keep you busy.

Set in the rural Irish town of the same name, West Cork explores the grisly murder of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier, a French holidaymaker, who was found brutally beaten to death just two days before Christmas in 1996. Hosted by husband and wife team; Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde, West Cork is a compelling and addictive listen. It's fascinating and sad and intriguing and strange and I couldn't stop listening to it. It blow my mind, especially when considering the sheer amount of research, time and attention to detail that went into it.  I've listened to it twice now - sidenote: I've listened to most of these twice! - and it's still just as surprising and devastating the second time around. It's amazing!

Escaping NXIVM (pronounced Nexium) is the first season of Uncover, a CBC podcast hosted by reporter Josh Bloch. It tells the story of Bloch's childhood friend Sarah Edmondson, who was heavily involved in and escaped from a cult. It is as batshit crazypants as it sounds. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, I just think you need to go and listen to it because it is fucking insane. It's also a superb example of awesome storytelling. It's bizarre and compelling and actually really quite scary. When Bloch was explaining how the cult worked and the ideas and theories that it espoused there were some things that I could see myself buying into... it's fucking weird! 

Dirty John is one of my all time favourite podcasts. I don't say that lightly.  Produced by The LA Times and Wondery, Dirty John is a fascinating and horrifying story told by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Christopher Goffard. Goffard - who is in possession of the most soothing yet irritating voice I've ever heard - investigates the titular Dirty John, real name John Meehan, and his relationship with Debra Newell, who he marries and ultimately tries to con. It's full of sickening twists and turns and is incredibly frustrating at times, mostly because Newell, whilst a victim, isn't particularly likeable, so it's hard to be on her side. Having said that, it's completely addictive and I was hooked from the first episode. Also it's set in Newport Beach, as in the one from The OC. So cool!

Hosted by Hedley Thomas, a seasoned reporter at The Australian,The Teacher’s Pet is an examination of the disappearance Lynette Dawson, a devoted wife and mother, who vanished in January 1982. Lynette hasn’t seen since and is widely believed to have been murdered by her husband, Chris, so he could be with his school-girl lover. It’s a horrific story that only gets worse the more I listen, I haven't finished listening yet, but it’s also fascinating and sad.

Narrated by medical journalist Laura Bell, Dr Death investigates Dr Christopher Dunstch, a neurosurgeon with a hideous track record of making ghastly mistakes, leaving his patients paralysed, in terrible pain or dead. Is Dunstch really just inept? Or does he have deadlier motives? Like Dirty John this is an addictive listen. It's difficult to listen to in places because it does go into quite a lot of detail about how much damage Dunstch inflicts on his patients and the awful things he does to them in surgery. But it's brilliant. And terrifying.

What are your favourite podcasts? Send me your recommendations x

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