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Top Ten Tuesday (#1): Reasons Why I Love True Crime

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born out of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


This Tuesday’s topic is: Reasons Why I Love [insert your favorite book title, genre, author, etc. here]


The wonderful communities I’ve become a part of.

Once upon a time there was girl (that’s me!) looking for a new podcast to listen to. She stumbled upon something called My Favorite Murder and without realizing it, became hooked. She identified herself as a murderino and since she wasn’t able to find any likeminded people from her close proximity, she went online. AND SHE FOUND SO MANY NEW FRIENDS.

True crime might be a weird interest to explain to someone who does not even know what it is and thus finding people who are into the same things, who spend hours upon hours on Reddit reading through threads about disappeared people and forensic science felt like coming home. I am a member of so many Murderino groups on Facebook I cannot even remember them all by name. My favorites are My Favorite Mukduk, a murderino group for the fans of The Office and The MFM Book Club 2.0, which is an AMAZING resource for book lovers.

I am always learning something new.

I am a curious person by nature and love to learn new things. I am also a very scholarly person and always looking for scientific knowledge and peer reviewed research – perhaps that is why I am currently working on a PhD.

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time like 15 years and focus on different things at school so I could be a forensic scientist but since I do not yet own a time machine I do my crime related learning after spending the days learning about something completely different.

I have learned so much through true crime and can’t wait to see what I’ll learn next.

Intelligent, interesting people who do their research well.

I love spending time listening to or reading texts by interesting people who know what they are talking about. And I think the true crime work is filled with a lot of people like that. Since my interests match so well with many of these podcasters and true crime authors I often feel like I am hanging out with people I know. Especially during the COVID-19 as I have spent a lot of time at home it has been nice to put on a podcast and listen to it while cooking, cleaning etc.

Some of my favorites are Paul Holes (#HotForHoles) and Billy Jensen from The Murder Squad; Jac Vanek, Alexis Linkletter and Billy Jensen from The First Degree, and David Ridgen from Someone Knows Something.

True crime, when done well, gives a voice to those touched by horrible events.

True crime can be sensational and hurtful (as can be pretty much anything), but when done well, true crime in its many forms can give a voice to those touched by crime. Think, for instance, CBC’s brilliant podcast Someone Knows Something and its six seasons on which people chose to the cases covered are truly given a voice and perhaps a chance to talk about the cases for the first time ever in a way in which they really become heard.

Justice for wrongdoings.

The growing popularity of true crime has not only resulted in the unearthing of cases that have been pushed to the back-burner years ago but it has also brought to attention the failures of the justice system. Obviously, this new attention towards the justice system can be a double-edged sword, as I briefly discussed in my review of Savage Appetites by Rachel Monroe and make us believe that what we see on TV is the reality of the justice system BUT there is no denying that issues related to racism, faulty scientific methods, and so on have been brought to attention in a way that has made people more aware of the workings of the system.

Mystery aspect – something you want to solve.

There definitely is that mystery aspect there and the desire to find something to solve. For me, this applies especially to disappearance cases – I can’t even count how many hours I have spent browsing through Reddit reading about the disappearance of Maura Murray, for instance. There often is a surprise aspect, a cliffhanger of sorts, in these stories too – that one piece of evidence that changes everything, that one unearthed text message or call that turns the case upside down.

Insight to the human psyche.

If you spend a lot of time online you have probably come across fan pages for serial killers and other criminals – there used to be prominent especially on Tumblr. Let me make this clear – sites like this should not exist! But there is no denying that one aspect that makes true crime so interesting is understanding what makes people tick, what kind of decisions and actions lead to events that end horribly. No idolization here for these criminals.

I think it is also interesting to learn what makes journalists, authors and podcasters interested in particular cases and why, for instance, a journalist like Billy Jensen is willing to spend his time and money solving cold cases (read more about this on his brilliant book Chase Darkness with Me). Honestly, more than wanting to understand the offenders I am interested in the people who immerse themselves in this world of true crime.

Perhaps the most important aspect is the ability to give a voice to the victims themselves, even if they are not here to tell their stories anymore. Good examples in which the victims are given a voice are, for instance, the podcast COLD featuring Susan Powell’s diary entries and recordings.

Feeling more knowledgeable and protected.

People close to me often tell me that I have been listening to too much true crime because I am so careful, but honestly, I feel like that is needed in this world, especially as a woman living alone. I can say without a doubt that through listening to these podcasts I have gotten myself out of some sketchy situations without harming myself.

It is not all dark and gloomy.

This point is kind of hard to explain to people who do not consume true crime, but take for instance a podcast like My Favorite Murder or The Murder Squad and you quickly realize that it is not all dark and gloomy. My Favorite Murder is hosted by comedians, so it kind of makes sense that they take this sort of dark humor/black humor approach to some issues. Including humor does not mean that they are disrespectful – rather, humor is a one way of dealing with difficult things. The Murder Squad features a wonderful segment called Weekly Distractions which is always fun to listen to – basically, Billy and Paul list things that have helped them distract themselves from the true crime world.

Recommending my favorites to you, so here you go!

Finally, I felt like I cannot post this without recommending some of my favorites for you, so here we go!

PODCASTS

Someone Knows Something

The Murder Squad

The First Degree

S-Town

BOOKS

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

American Predator by Maureen Callahan

Chase Darkness with Me by Billy Jensen


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