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  • Writer's picturePodcast Librarian

Tom Brown's Body: Small town murder and gossip

The Premise (from Apple Podcasts):

In 2016, a popular high school senior mysteriously disappeared on the night before Thanksgiving. His remains were found two years later. What happened to Tom Brown in the small town of Canadian, Texas that night? It seems everyone in town’s become a suspect, including Tom’s family, friends, the local sheriff, and a high-flying private investigator. Acclaimed writer Skip Hollandsworth digs into the mystery that’s torn this town apart in this eight-part true crime podcast series.

Series or standalone:


Begin listening to:

1. A Pretty Little Place


Investigative reporting


Skip Hollandsworth of Texas Monthly

Sound/production quality:

Very good

Rating/age suitability:


Approximate length of episodes:

40 minutes

Curricular ties:


Similar recommended pods:

Culpable; Appalachia Mysteria; Piketon Massacre; Hell and Gone; Boomtown (same Texas Monthly production team)

Podcast Librarian’s Review:

A high school senior disappeared on Thanksgiving Eve from a small Texan town and is missing for months. Rumors swirled about whether he was murdered, committed suicide, or ran off to start a new life. People in town questioned his sexuality and character, even though he was known and loved by all. When his body is finally found, there are still way more questions than answers.

This podcast reminds me so much of Culpable (one of my favorite investigative true crime podcasts) because it takes place in a small town where everyone seems to know each other’s business, but there are still plenty of secrets under the surface. Though the series is concluded for now, there will surely be updates as a grand jury is set to review the case. This was probably my favorite true crime podcast to come out of 2020 because it was sensitive and respectful to the victim and his family (but also really fascinating with lots of twists and strange characters, like a big-talking PI who is like something out of a TV show). The music is also great and related to the case—the theme song was one of the victim’s favorite songs. Check this out for a small town investigative podcast with lots of mystery, secrets, and good (ethical) reporting.

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