'Tom Brown’s Body' — The Podcast We Must Talk About

Scary Mommy and Texas Monthly

I’m admittedly a podcast junkie. I love listening to them while I run, while I clean, and when I’m taking long drives. That being said though, I’ve always leaned toward comedy, relationship, or self-help podcasts.

I know true crime pods are all the rage right now but I have to be honest — I’m a bit of a scaredy cat, and when I watch something scary or disturbing, it creeps into my soul. It’s like the darkness from it seeps inside me and I can’t separate myself from the situation.

For this reason I’ve steered clear all these years of listening to anything that would throw me off, because real life is scary enough.

However, since the pandemic, my oldest son and boyfriend have gotten me into shows like Dateline. I find I can watch without having nightmares at this stage in my life, so perhaps all those self-help podcasts have helped me in more ways than I know.

When my friend recommended “Tom Brown’s Body,” a podcast about a high school senior from Canadian, Texas who went missing in 2016, I decided I could handle it.

Let me just say I am forever converted and listening to true crime will be a thing I’ll always do. I devoured all the episodes that have come out in a day, and I can’t wait for more (there will be eight total).

There was something about heading out on a dark, fall morning and listening to this story that had me so mesmerized, I forgot I was running — and that’s saying a lot. During the second episode, I had chills the entire time.

The author of the podcast is award-winning journalist Skip Hollandsworth. You get to listen to him interview those who are highly involved in the case at different points in time — including Tom Brown’s mother, brother, the town sheriff, the private investigator his mother hired, and many other key people in the case.

What I wasn’t expecting was to have all the feelings while listening to this. I thought it would be entertaining, but I didn’t think it would get as invested as I am. I found myself yelling out loud things like “bullshit!” and “You are such a liar, you had something to do with this!” while I was listening.

Without giving too much away (because I can’t recommend enough that you listen to this for yourself), Tom Brown was the class president, a well-liked boy who stayed out of trouble. His disappearance is turning the town upside down, to say the least. People in his small, conservative hometown have so many different ideas about what happened to him, it seems (to me anyway) to spin the case out of control.

Small town politics are taking the energy away from solving the case. A lot of people involved have huge egos and they seem to care more about being right than they do about figuring out what happened to this seemingly happy boy who went missing on Thanksgiving Eve in 2016.

There are adults who have quite a bit of authority in the town who seem overinvested and protective about their thoughts on what happened to Tom Brown, instead of really wanting to find out what happened to him.

I mean, he was just a kid who seemed to vanish into thin air one night, leaving his friends and family baffled. And I’m still not sure if the theories people are coming up with about what happened to him are so off base, or if there’s truth to them.

All I know is I can’t wait for the next episode to come out, and I highly recommend you get your phone in your hot little hands and start listening to it ASAFP. During episode two, I got some strong intuitive feelings about what I think happened, and I’m curious to find out how right I am.

Do yourself a favor — have some friends listen at the same time so you have someone to talk to about this. Because believe you me, there’s just so much about “Tom Brown’s Body” you’re going to want to discuss.