Warren and Nina Count Down Their Top Five Murder-Related Songs and Podcasts
In The Killer in Me, seventeen-year-old Nina and Warren take a road trip from Vermont to New Mexico to catch a serial killer who may or may not exist. The only evidence of his reality is in Nina’s dreams.
What do you listen to when you’re on your way to track down a cold-blooded murderer? I asked my characters to come up with five songs or podcasts that would have been disturbingly perfect for their trip, and here’s the result.
NINA: First, I just want to point out that murder is wrong, okay? We are not glorifying murder here.
WARREN: Absolutely. Murder is inglorious, evil, and wrong. But reading murder books and listening to murder stories and songs can be … fun. Who knows why?
NINA: Just don’t forget what happened to us out in the desert.
WARREN: I don’t think we’re supposed to talk about that here. Spoilers and all. Okay, I’ll go first. No. 5 on our list is the song “Red Right Hand,” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It’s an old song, but it creeps me out whenever I hear it, because it’s about a guy with a bloody hand who hangs out at the edge of town and promises you whatever you want. I don’t know if he’s actually a murderer or if he’s Death itself, but same difference.
NINA: [shivers] That song is disturbing. Okay, so No. 4, my choice, is “Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)” by Aurora. I’m not going to lie to you: I found this by Googling “murder songs.” But this song! And this video! It’s so beautiful and creepy at the same time. And it’s from the point of view of the murder victim, which is important, because it’s the victims we should be remembering, not the killers.
WARREN: Yeah, that video messes me up. The expressions on her face—so intense. So, my choice for No. 3 is “Deep Red Bells” by Neko Case. Not only does it have a sweet and sinister Americana sound, but it was inspired by Case’s experience growing up in Washington state while the Green River Killer was active there.
NINA: Guess somebody did his research [playfully elbows him].
WARREN: [puts his arm around her] What’s wrong with research?
NINA: Nothing. I love how research-y you are. Anyway, for No. 2, I chose the podcast “Serial,” season one. Basically, true-crime podcasts don’t get more addictive than this. Sarah Koenig investigates the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, a popular high school senior. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, is doing life in prison for the crime. But is he really the killer? There’s conflicting evidence, and Syed is now awaiting a new trial. It’s frustrating not to get a definite solution to the mystery, but this podcast demonstrates just how complicated murder investigations can be in the real world.
WARREN: The real world? You mean, like the one we live in?
NINA: Right. That one.
WARREN: We both agreed on our No. 1 choice. It may not be the most educational murder podcast out there, but it’s definitely the most entertaining: “My Favorite Murder.” The concept’s simple: Two comedians who are obsessed with murder discuss famous murder cases.
NINA: And they link their murder fascination to their anxiety, something I can totally relate to. Anywhere I live, any space I enter, I think about how someone could get in to kill me and how I could get out. Call me paranoid, but … I used to carry a Swiss Army Knife in my boot, just in case.
WARREN: You don’t need that anymore, now you have a big strong man to protect you.
NINA: Please! In the desert, I protected you.
WARREN: She speaks the truth.
NINA: Anyway, once you’ve seen how a predator operates, the whole world changes. You may never feel entirely safe again, but at least you can share stories and tips on how not to be murdered and even have some fun doing it. Hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are all about that, which is why I love this podcast.
WARREN: Maybe we should end with their catchphrase.
NINA: You mean “Stay sexy. Don’t get murdered”?
WARREN: Why not? Out in the desert, in that abandoned mine, we certainly tried to stay sexy and not get murdered.
NINA: [squeezes his hand] Uh … spoiler alert? But yeah, you’re right. That’s exactly what we did, and I’m glad we were together.