It's hard to do when you're caught up in a story but one fun way to listen to a true crime podcast is binge-listening. That requires you to wait until the entire season or series is posted before you start. But it means you can just listen to as much as you want without being stuck waiting for the next episode — and possibly trying to remember who the different characters are.
I recently did that with In The Dark, a podcast produced by American Public Media in Minnesota. It's about the abduction and murder of a young boy in 1989. It's not a whodunit so much as a why-the-hell-did-it-take-so-long-to-catch-the-guy. There is a lot — trust me, a lot — to be pissed off about in how this case was handled. But the approach is so even-tempered that you can work yourself up into outrage right alongside the host, without feeling like you're being manipulated into it (like the Geraldo model, one episode of which focused on this case). I will most definitely be signing up for whatever their next project is and am putting this on top of my true crime list, even ahead of those podcast stars at Serial. One thing I really appreciated: I never had to hear about how the host felt about the information she was uncovering, or her feelings about talking to people who had been victimized in various ways, from having their child go missing without an answer, to being molested as a kid, to having strangers call them at all hours to tell them THEIR feelings about the case — a useful reminder that people were capable of terrible behavior to strangers well before the Internet — to being publicly suspected of the crime when they were actually totally innocent. The focus was all on the story.