By J. Torrey McClain
I have an outsized morbid curiosity. I am in the midst of reading “Devil in the White City” about the 1893 World’s Fair and the serial killer that lurked just outside its gates. I definitely enjoyed reading Bill James’s foray into something not related to baseball, “Popular Crime.” I’ve included several books by criminal profiler John Douglas in my reading list over the last fifteen years. I wrote about “Green River Killer: A True Detective Story” for borg.com. So, those personal facts may color my opinion, but I’m going to go ahead and say that if you’re looking for a true crime podcast, you can’t do any better than the season that “You Must Remember This” devotes to Charles Manson and the murders he and his family committed in the summer of 1969.* (http://www.vidiocy.com/youmustrememberthispodcastblog/2015/5/26/charles-mansons-hollywood-part-1-what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-the-manson-murders)
*However, if you’re looking for runner-ups, I suggest the first season of “Serial” from the producers of “This American Life,” and the ongoing “Criminal” that is part of the Radiotopia podcast network. I’m sure you’ve already read WAY too much on “Serial,” but I may have to add my own “Hey Listen To This!” post on “Criminal” and several of the other members of Radiotopia.
Host Karina Longworth knows how to tell a story, gives the listener a bunch of great facts and lets you know when she ventures into the realm of speculation and rumor. Each podcast episode comes with its own blog post that notes the sources Karina uses to edify and explain the years Manson spent living free outside of prison. She connects Manson to various other figures in Hollywood like Dennis Wilson and Doris Day. (I must say the Wilson part really intrigued me and got me to add his digital double album, “Pacific Ocean Blue & Bambu” to my music wish list.) She takes her time telling the story, so the series runs for twelve episodes and each episode is at least a half an hour. It’s not a rush job, it’s not a sample of one evening in the life, it’s a darn comprehensive look at a specific time and place centered around one of the most sensational and senseless crimes of the century.**