author: Suruthi Bala, Hannah Maguire
published: 14 September 2021
genre(s): nonfiction, true crime
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2021 Listeners' Choice British Podcast Awards Winner
Based off Hannah Maguire and Suruthi Bala's popular podcast of the same name, RedHanded explores real-life true crime cases to help answer once and for all if a killer is born or made.
After meeting at a house party in London, where they discovered a mutual obsession for all things true crime, Suruthi Bala and Hannah Maguire drunkenly promised to one day start their own murder podcast. Six weeks later they ordered their first microphones and the rest is history. From the hosts of the hit podcast RedHanded (dubbed by Anna Paquin as her “all- time favorite true crime podcast”), Bala and Maguire have amassed a cult following of “spooky bitches.”
What is it about killers, cults, and cannibals that capture our imaginations even as they terrify and disturb us? Do we find these stories endlessly and equally compelling and frightening, because they hold up a mirror to society’s failings and to the horrors that we humans are capable of? RedHanded rejects the outdated narrative of killers as monsters and that a victim “was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Instead, it dissects the stories of killers in a way that challenges perceptions and asks the hard questions about society, gender, poverty, culture, and even our politics.
With their trademark humor, research on real-life cases, and unflinching analysis of what makes a criminal, Bala and Maguire take you through what drives the most extreme of human behavior to find out once and for all: what makes a killer tick?
I came to Suruthi Bala and Hannah Maguire not through their podcast of the same name. I won the book via Patreon’s Halloween Trick or Treat event. Only after I got it did I realize that I had been listening to their other podcast on Spotify, Sinister Societies, since it’s beginning. I love them on that one, so I found RedHanded and fell in love with that, too. Their dynamic is fabulous. They don’t take themselves too seriously, but their dedication to the research is obvious. It’s a perfect blend that transferred well to the pages of their book.
I’m an unabashed true crime junkie, and there’s nothing I hate more than a shallow dip into a case. I’m there for the deep dive. And let’s face it, sometimes that can read dryly. But these ladies do the deep dive, and they do it with facts and a healthy dose of snark and humor.
The book is divided into eight sections, each one a combination of facts, case studies, and science. They also included lots of sidebars that really helped give a full picture of the topic. I loved that they presented the information in a way that broke it down and explained it in new ways. I had a few really light bulb moments that made me think about some of the situations very differently. It was fascinating, so much that my book is now decorated with a plethora of pink Post-It flags!!
The book is fantastic, and so is the podcast!!
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