So I finished Shittown in a few days this week. The only impediment to a total binge listen was, oh yeah, that pesky job of mine. Anyway, Shittown is from the people behind Serial although there is a different narrator/reporter. I’m glad because I don’t think Sarah Koenig wouldn’t have been as effective for this story.
I can’t even cover it all here because there are so many twists and turns but I urge you to listen.
SPOILERS/SPOILERS/SPOILERS/You’ve been warned!
The podcast is 7 segments of about an hour or less. This true story starts out with a random email to the reporter a few years ago from a named John B. McLemore. John wants the reporter and PBS to investigate an alleged murder in the small Alabama town of Woodstock where he lives, which he believes was covered up because the perpetrator was from a wealthy family. Throughout the podcast, John refers to Woodstock as “Shittown” and “this shittown” and various other expletives that only increased my enjoyment of it, especially given John’s Southern accent.
Ironically, the reporter goes to Shittown to investigate, and it turns out the victim didn’t die, but was injured, and there was a thorough police investigation in which no charges were filed. At the end of the second episode, it appears the podcast will take a turn to look at police and governmental corruption in Shittown, when the reporter learns that John killed himself by drinking cyanide.
The podcast then addresses what happens as a result of John’s unexpected death. Unfortunately, he didn’t leave a will and was “unbanked”. Cousins from Florida are the next of kin and there’s a dispute between them and a friend of John’s named Tyler Goodson as to belongings on John’s property, as well as the care and custody of John’s mother, who has dementia.