2018, Podcasts

Bear Brook (2018)

I listen to a lot of “true crime” podcasts. Way, way too many. But most of them are what you might call “criminal justice” podcasts; i.e. they focus on wrongful imprisonment stories rather than mysteries. I generally prefer these types of podcasts because they fuel my outrage at injustice, something I generally don’t indulge in as much as I used to, and because I am utterly fascinated by the sheer awfulness of the US judicial system.

But I like a good mystery, well told. I usually don’t listen to most mystery-focused true crime podcasts because, in my experience, most of them are not well-told, and usually involve way too much wild speculation, something I can’t abide. (Wild speculation is why innocent people go to prison a lot of the time.)

But Bear Brook is both a compelling mystery and a really well told one. You should listen to it if you’re interested at all in true crime. I’m going to try to discuss it without giving anything away.

Bear Brook is about some bodies that were discovered in a barrel in Bear Brook State Park in New Hampshire. These bodies were discovered decades ago, but part of this story is about how advances in DNA testing technology and the existence of internet are allowing cold case investigators to find new clues they never would have been able to in the past. These investigations have led to a much bigger story than just “a barrel of bodies in a State Park in the 1980s.” If you are interested, I encourage you to listen without reading anything more about it, because much of the information in the podcast is public knowledge.

It’s short; it’s only 6 episodes and many of them are not that long, so you can binge listen to it pretty quickly. It’s one of those podcasts that’s hard to stop listening to, which is good. It’s also pretty thoughtful.

I listen to way too many podcasts these days and it’s pretty rare for me to find a show which I don’t quibble about at least a little bit. But I really don’t have anything negative to say about this. I think it’s pretty close to exactly what you want, if you want bingeable, compelling but thoughtful true crime mysteries.


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