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Killer Serials

Enjoy these true crime podcasts with the lights on!

By Christina Adams

Anyone who knows me is well aware of my obsession with true crime and mysteries. Since my teenage years, I’ve been fascinated by these types of stories, moving from books at my local library, to reading blogs and watching online videos.

For a long time, I was reluctant to share my love of this genre with others, fearing they might think I was a bit crazy.

Now, the age of podcasting has made these irresistible tales much more accessible. And, an incredible spike in true crime podcasts has helped me realize, I am not alone.

Podcast basics

Podcasts are short audio or video productions, which listeners download or stream using apps. Some podcasting apps have premium subscriptions, so for a nominal fee you can listen without interruptions. But, if you don’t mind occasional advertisements, there are a lot of free options.

Popular apps include, Spotify, PodBean, Overcast, iCatcher, PlayerFM, and Stitcher, which is my personal favorite. I find Stitcher to be user-friendly, letting me easily browse new channels or genres, such as comedy, self-help, politics, and true crime.

I can browse by popularity, and I am even given recommendations based on my favorites’ list. When I searched for ‘top podcasts’ and discovered a long list of true crime programs, I knew I had found my tribe!

Some true crime podcasts feature episodes made up of compilations of various cases or crimes, while others spend a season (or more) on a single case.

Confessions of a true-crime addict

Once I hear podcasters talk about specific crimes, I am able to read more deeply about the cases that intrigue me. That’s a fun way to spend my leisure time, and it bleeds over into my work life. As a library assistant, I’m able to recommend books and movies to borrowers and for our collection. It turns out that many Kittanning Library patrons share my interest in true crime.

For me, the program that sparked my new fascination with podcasts was My Favorite Murder featuring Georgia Hardstark and Karen Killgarif. Their humorous, entertaining format is like settling in with long-lost friends to indulge in a secret – almost taboo – pleasure.

Listening to their storytelling at night in bed, I find myself laughing out loud, and sometimes am too scared to even get up and go to the bathroom. They have tapped a large community and continue building their fan-base, touring and packing auditoriums around the world.

Ready. Set. Listen.

Whether you’re ready to immerse yourself in an unsolved case or simply looking for a bit of entertainment, there is a podcast out there for you. In case you don’t know where to start, allow me to recommend a few of my top true-crime picks.

True Crime Brewery features Jill & Dick (a physician and a nurse) who combine humorous banter, a beer-tasting review, and medical insights to make otherwise heartbreaking crimes more bearable. I would love to meet them “at the quiet end of the bar” to uncover their theories and observations on certain cases. This is a fun podcast to listen to!

True Crime Garage (not to be confused with the previous TCB), is hosted by Nic & the Captain, two beer-drinking true-crime experts. Don’t let their youthful wit and casual beer-swilling fool you. These guys gather insider information from family member and investigators, bringing listeners new insights and theories on hard-to-solve cases.

The Vanished Podcast, with the soothing voice of Marissa Jones, is a well-executed production that delves into a different missing-person case each week. Interviews with law enforcement, crime experts, family members and friends reflect the intensity and desperation people experience when someone goes missing.

Trace Evidence, hosted by Steven Pacheco, is a weekly production about unsolved cases, including murders and missing persons. This podcast features exhaustive investigation and, occasionally, exclusive details on even some higher-profile cases. It’s well worth a listen.

Culpable is a podcast about crimes involving people who deserve blame, but seem to have evaded justice. This is a new one for me, and I was blown away by the musical score and brilliant investigative skills of Shelia Wysocki, who I was introduced to in Without Warning. The first season of Culpable lured me in, and I am hooked! I cannot wait to see what comes next.

Do you have a favorite podcast, true-crime story or case? Let us hear about it in our forum below. It’s great to share what you know, and you may inspire the library’s next book order.


Christina Adams is often found at Kittanning Library where she is the Children's Program Coordinator. She is known there as “Miss Christina,” and it is a commonly-held belief that she actually lives at the library. But, at the end of each day, she is allowed to go home, where she answers to “Momma”. In her off time, she indulges in true crime stories

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