The Blotter Presents, Episode 119: Wicked Game and The Fear of 13

Plus: Investigating a burned body cold case

On this week’s episode of The Blotter Presents, Sarah and I began with the podcast American Elections: Wicked Game, the crimeyness of which is…debatable. The show, which seeks to “explore all 58 presidential elections to discover if there ever was a “good ol’ days,” or if presidential politics have always been played dirty,” launched in October and has gotten as far as 1808 (Madison v Pinckney) at this writing.

Sarah made it further than I did, partially because she has better time management skills than I do and partially because she liked it a little bit more. In my opinion, the colorful storytelling flourishes on the podcast make it feel more like an audiobook (or property that should be adapted for TV) than the kind of nonfiction podcast I prefer. Sarah appreciated the historical efforts and says she’ll keep listening. In terms of true crime, while there’s certainly crime in there -- as there is in any historical accounting, eventually -- it’s not enough of a focus to, in our opinion, scratch a listener’s crime itch. You can listen to American Elections: Wicked Game here, and to our discussion about it here. -- EB

For this week’s Cold Case, we discussed The Fear of 13, a Netflix documentary from 2015. The only face you see in the film is Nick Yarris, who tells the tale of his time on Death Row and eventual exoneration. (According to an interview Yarris did when the film headed to Netflix, “the film took eight years to complete and was made from 22 hours of interview-style talking that I did” back in 2007. Sarah and I agreed that the seemingly rehearsed nature of Yarris’s rap made what he said feel less credible than it otherwise might -- and for my part, just as I thought Wicked Game would have been a better visual property, I believe The Fear of 13 would have been better as straight audio, either in book or podcast form. If you haven’t seen the movie, check it out here and tell us what you thought of it! Otherwise, here’s our conversation on the movie, let us know in the comments if you agree or no. -- EB

I keep hearing good things about Secrets True Crime, which, not to be shady, is not the best name for a podcast that isn’t sponsored by a deodorant brand. The show just kicked off its second season last week, and this time it’s covering the deaths of Eric Cates and his dog Gypsy, the burned bodies of whom were found inside a truck in 2015. Despite an ongoing investigation and a $25,000 reward, the case remains unsolved. Podcast host Amber Sitton is working with a private investigator named Michael Fleming to interview family members, law enforcement, and witnesses, and tells the Daily Mountain Eagle that she expects the show to run for 10-15 episodes, with more to come if the case moves forward. You can listen to it here. -- EB

True scholars of true crime might be intrigued by a new textbook on the topic. Justice on Demand: True Crime in the Digital Streaming Era is intended for media studies students, but there’s no rule that the rest of us can’t read it, right? It’s scheduled for release on November 11, and says it investigates why “true crime thought to be such a good vehicle for the new modes of viewer/listener engagement favored by online streaming and consumption in the twenty-first century.” It’s available for pre-order on Indiebound, but also seems like the kind of book your local library might be willing to order for you. -- EB

Thursday on Best Evidence: Some news for Cold fans!

What is this thing? This should help.

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