True crime is all the rage in the podcast world these days, thanks in no small part to offerings such as “Small Town Murder.” The brainchild of two Phoenix-based comedians, James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman, “Small Town Murder” focuses on—as its name implies—murder cases that have gripped small towns.
Each episode focuses on one murder case in a specific location, and it covers killings that might not have received a lot of mainstream press. But the show is about far more than just heinous crimes: episodes include love triangles, sudden disappearances and botched relationships, as well as bumbling criminals and the kind of quirky scenarios found only in out-of-the-way places.
So what makes “Small Town Murder” stand out from the true-crime-podcast pack? The impressive amount of research that goes into each episode, for starters. Plus, Pietragallo and Whisman possess an easy camaraderie that softens the tone of the serious subject matter, meaning the show has an expert balance of suspense, mystery and lighthearted commentary. And perhaps even more important: while the men pepper their well-crafted storytelling with plenty of humor, they always state up front that there’s absolutely no mockery of murder victims or their families allowed.
The Small Town Murder tour, Shut Up and Give Me Murder!, promises to preserve the spirit of the podcast while giving fans a chance to mix and mingle with other dedicated listeners.