Sunday, January 26, 2020

Podcast Review: Murder Book Season 1 - The Tell-Tale Bullet

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Gripping story with plenty of twists
Cons: Courtroom recordings slow things down
The Bottom Line:
This true crime podcast
Features lots of twists and turns
For gripping listen

Michael Connelly Tackles a True Crime

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I didn’t really start listening to entertainment podcasts until this year.  I started when I heard about Murder Book.  This true crime podcast is from bestselling mystery writer Michael Connelly, and I love his books, so I had to give it a chance.  I was quickly caught up in the first season case – The Tell-Tale Bullet.

It’s no wonder that this case was picked for the first season since it has enough twists for a Michael Connelly novel.  The story starts in 1987 with a carjacking gone wrong in Los Angeles.  It ended with the death of a young man named Jade Clark.  When the police begin investigating the case, they quickly find a suspect named Pierre Romain.  But the police can’t find enough evidence to get a conviction, and the case goes cold until DNA evidence this century causes the police to reopen the case.  And that’s when the twists really start.

I found the podcast when the first half a dozen episodes had already been released.  I thought I was going to space them out, but I was hooked, and soon I found myself anxious to download the newest episode each Monday morning to listen to on my way to and from work since each episode is roughly an hour.

It is easy to see why Michael Connelly chose this story for his first season.  It contains lots of great detective work and courtroom drama.  In other words, it would have made the basis for a great novel featuring both Harry Bosch and Michael Haller.  There are certainly parts that will make you angry.  I will admit to looking up some news stories to find out what happened before the season finished.  I just couldn’t take the suspense any more.

As much as I enjoyed the season, I did get frustrated with the courtroom episodes.  The Murder Book team got permission to record the trial, but those recordings are hard to understand.  Michael Connelly does a good job of summarizing what happened during those recordings for us, but it is still frustrating not to be able to hear everything when we break to the actual tape.  Not to mention, for those of us looking for fast paced courtroom drama, the attorney’s talking seem a bit slow at times.  They needed writers to punch things up for them.  I felt the use of the courtroom recordings actually slowed things down in a few episodes.

In a real life twist worthy of the story, there are a couple of updates that were made after the initial run of episodes aired.  The entire first season is now available, so you can easily dig in and enjoy the entire thing in one fell swoop.

And once you start, you will be hooked.  I normally don’t enjoy true crime, but if you do, you need to listen to this podcast.  We get interviews with the detectives and attorneys involved in the case to help us understand some of the whys as well as the facts of the case.  It makes for a fascinating look at our justice system, how it works, and how it doesn’t at times.

We’ve been promised a season two when the crew finds a case worthy of being included.  In the meantime, you can enjoy The Tell-Tale Bullet.  If further seasons are as good as the first one, you can bet I will keep listening to Murder Book.

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