10 New Podcasts That Have Me HOOKED!

There are so many great Podcasts available at the moment, there has been an explosion of new releases on Spotify and I am not complaining… about anything… I’m too busy downloading and listening to them ;-)


1. The Orange Tree - The Drag Audio Production House - Hosted By Haley Butler & Tinu Thomas.

The Orange Tree Podcast was so captivating I binged 5 of the 7 episodes straight away. It is a documentary Podcast series that tells the story of:

“… the 2005 murder of 21-year-old Jennifer Cave. The brutal crime scene at the Orange Tree Condos in Austin’s West Campus area shook the city. Two top University of Texas students were convicted and three families’ lives were changed forever.” (Source here).

The hosts, Haley Butler and Tinu Thomas:

“… delve into court documents and interview key characters of the murder in this riveting true-crime podcast.” (Source here).

Perhaps not for everyone due to nature of the content of this Podcast, including a detailed description of Jennifer’s horrific murder (there are plenty of warnings by the hosts which means you can avoid these sections if you want to and still continue with the rest of the Podcast). I really found the true story told in this Podcast enthralling and heart wrenching.


2. The Night Driver - By Hedley Thomas for The Australian.

To say I was excited when I heard about The Night Driver Podcast would be an understatement. The investigator and host Hedley Thomas is also the host of one of the best Podcasts ever made (in my opinion), The Teachers Pet which was the first ever Podcast I blogged about. I can’t get enough of Hedley’s voice, it is so relaxing and soothing.

The Night Driver Podcast is an investigative Podcast that looks into the disappearance of Janine Vaughan 19 years ago:

“A young woman disappears into a rain-soaked night. A country town divides on rumour and speculation. And a family relentlessly seeks to uncover the truth.”

“Janine Vaughan’s disappearance 19 years ago is at the heart of a mysterious case that has split a close-knit community left wondering if a murderer walks among them.” (Source here).

There is only one episode available on Spotify so far so I am already impatiently awaiting the next one!


3. Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment - Hosted By Matt Stroud for Wondery.

If you have read any of my other Podcast blogs, you will know I am a massive Wondery fan. Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment is another absolute top notch Podcast from Wondery, released in July 2020.

Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment is an in-depth investigation into the rise and fall (and rise again!) of “self-help guru” James Arthur Ray. James Arthur Ray shot to fame and came to the forefront of the self-help realm when he was one of the several narrators in the film The Secret in 2006. The film led to the publication of the companion book of the same name by Rhonda Byrne. James Arthur Rays subsequent appearance on, and endorsement by Oprah on her show (which is about as good as it gets) ensured he gained “guru” status. Ray was also a guest on two other super popular American TV Shows, namely the Today Show and CNN’s Larry King Live which only reinforced his standing as a “self-help guru”.

In Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment we learn all about James Arthur Ray and how his self-help business and status as a “guru” led to at least three deaths:

“When we face challenges in life, we seek answers from people we believe can help us. When tragedy strikes an exclusive retreat with a self-help superstar, many people are left to wonder: how far is too far? James Arthur Ray was an Oprah-endorsed self-help teacher who achieved fame, fortune, and influence. But friends and family members of his followers questioned his unorthodox methods, and tried to stop him.” (Source here).

Another gripping listen that will have you doing all those extra chores or running those extra miles just to keep binging!


4. Relative Unknown - Hosted By Jackee Taylor for C13Originals Studio.

From the Podcast studio that brought us the excellent Root of Evil: The True Story of the Hodel Family and the Black Dahlia Podcast comes another enthralling story. In Relative Unknown host Jackee Taylor learns of her estranged fathers death by suicide and subsequently takes possession of a black trunk that was recovered by Police at the property he owned. When Jackee opens the trunk, and discovers its contents the real story begins! More about this Podcast, taken from here:

“Jackee Taylor always thought there was something strange about her life. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it even though she grew up angrier, more troubled, and more confused than most. Then she received a phone call in July of 2013. Paul Dome had taken his life in a double murder suicide, and she knew she needed to get on a plane. Maybe Jackee would finally have some answers. Once she arrived, beyond the yellow tape and grizzly crime scene, Dome’s neighbor told Jackee something was waiting for her. Hidden away, inside a neighboring trailer was a black trunk. It was the only thing that Dome spared when he lit the house on fire with two bodies inside it. And now, it was in his daughter’s hands.”

“When Jackee Taylor opened the trunk, the first thing she saw was a red and white patch that read, “Hells Angels.” As she dug through it, she found an unpublished memoir, and a transcript of testimony given to the US Senate by someone named Clarence “Butch” Crouch. Then, between hundreds of photos of Hells Angels, she saw letters between The Department of Justice and Butch Crouch. Some had the word WITSEC on them. It added up.”

This Podcast aired its first episode on Spotify on August 11th and we are now on episode four and it continues to be gripping and simultaneously hard to believe in equal measures.


5. Billionaire Boys Club - Hosted By Tracy Pattin & Timothy Olyphant for Wondery.

The Billionaire Boys Club is a six part Podcast series:

“In 1980s Los Angeles, a group of prep school boys got together to make investments together, get rich quick, and live large. But headed by a handsome and charismatic leader named Joe Hunt, the members of the self-proclaimed “Billionaire Boys Club” get sucked deeper into twisted schemes of kidnapping, torture, and revenge. The boys must stick together, or risk prison – or worse.” (Source here).

Joe Hunt’s dream or desire to be powerful and wealthy was his downfall but man it makes for one hell of a crazy story! With three episodes to go, I can’t wait to know what happens next.


6. California City: The Dark Side of The American Dream - Hosted By Emily Guerin for LAist Studios.

Greed is at the heart of this story, not in the hearts of the innocent people (victims) seeking their “American Dream”, but in those promising them their “American Dream”. California City: The Dark Side of The American Dream is set deep in the Mojave desert where:

“… there is a little town with a big name and a bizarre history: California City. For decades, real estate developers have sold a dream here: if you buy land now, you’ll be rich one day. Thousands of people bought this dream. Many were young couples and hard-working immigrants looking to build a better future. But much of the land they bought is nearly worthless.” (Source here).

You will certainly empathise with the victims of this despicable scam and you will most likely also feel anger on their behalf. I for one was definitely rooting for them to get justice against those who scammed them out of their hard earned money - you will have to listen to find out whether they did or not!


7. American Sky Jacker - The Final Flight of Martin McNally - Hosted By Danny Wicentowski for Imperative Entertainment & Pegalo Pictures.

I am used to travelling by air (pre-covid19) and of course used to all that goes with air travel in this modern age. For this reason I loved this Podcast for giving me a better idea of what air travel was like in the 60s and 70s, before all the strict security controls, travel restrictions and at a time where you could still smoke on board. I never knew that “sky-jacking” was a big problem during these years:

“Between the years of 1967 and 1972 over 300 commercial airplanes were hijacked worldwide, with over 130 of those happening in the United States alone. This period would become known as “The Golden Age of Hijacking.” (Source here).

In American Sky Jacker - The Final Flight of Martin McNally we hear the:

“… tale of a small-time crook named Martin ‘Mac’ McNally, who dreamed of the ultimate mile-high score: hijacking a plane and getting away with $500,000 in cash; but Mac’s hijacking is just the beginning of a truly epic and incredibly wild true-crime saga.” (Source here).

I’m am eight episodes in, so I only have two episodes left in this ten part series and I am really enjoying it; a wild true crime story that is well worth listening to.


8. Murder in Hollywoodland: Who killed William Desmond Taylor? - Hosted By Tracey Pattin & James Remar for Wondery.

The Murder in Hollywoodland: Who killed William Desmond Taylor? Podcast is a:

“…real life Murder Mystery is one of the most iconic “whodunnit” cases of the 20th century that will leave you guessing and second guessing who killed William Desmond Taylor for weeks to come.” (Source here).

William Desmond Taylor was the most famous film director in Hollywood at the time of his murder. His body was found in his home on the 2nd of February 1922. The investigation into his murder, as outlined in this Podcast, will:

“… shine a light on some of Hollywood’s most scandalous affairs, backroom deals, and underground drug dens.” (Source here).

Another great Wondery Podcast that will keep you guessing throughout.


9. Hope in Darkness: The Josh Holt Story - Hosted By Becky Bruce & Josh Holt - KSL Podcasts & Wondery.

The tag line for the Hope in Darkness: The Josh Holt Story Podcast is:

“Josh Holt was kidnapped and thrown in a Venezuelan prison for a crime he didn’t commit. What did it take for him to survive?” (Source here).

This really sums up what you can expect from the Podcast, the story of Josh Holt before, during and after his captivity. A little more about his story, taken from here:

“In June 2016, American Joshua Holt traveled to Venezuela, to get married. But just a couple of weeks later he and his wife, Thamara, woke to the sound of police officers pounding on their apartment door. As part of a crackdown on crime under the government of Nicolas Maduro, they were rounded up and taken to El Helicoide, a now-infamous prison in the heart of Caracas, known for torture, physical violence and overcrowding. They would spend the next two years there.” (Source here).

I don’t want to give away too much and take from the Podcast, but an event that takes place shortly after Josh’s release was for me the most heart-breaking part of the story - be sure to listen to the end, 12 episodes in all.


10. Deep Cover: The Drug Wars - Pushkin Industries - Hosted By Jake Halpern.

The Deep Cover: The Drug Wars Podcast tells:

“… the true story of an FBI agent in Detroit who goes undercover in an outlaw motorcycle gang and makes a series of bizarre discoveries that inadvertently lead to the US invasion of a foreign country.” (Source here).

There are some really great characters in this story and the fact that this a true story and these characters are genuine makes it even better. It’s a crazy story that will have you laughing, keep you in a continuous state of shock and disbelief and have you always wondering “what else can possibly happen?”.


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