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From serial killer dads to mobster moms, these true crime podcasts will make your family issues look boring in comparison.

We all love to hear a story or two about that quirky uncle who wears shorts even when it’s freezing cold outside, or that distant cousin who collects bottle caps for a hobby. Let’s face it, there’s something fascinating about weird family members. And from Sister Wives to Duck Dynasty, there’s an entire reality show industry around families whose lives are somehow different from our own.

But when it comes to true crime, having an unusual family can go far beyond annoying habits.

Take out your weird family photos, and put your mom’s signature lasagna in the microwave. We’re indulging in the family business–the family business of true crime, that is.

From serial killer dads to mobster mavens, we’re counting down the top podcasts about true crime in the family.

Mob Queens

Many fans of the HBO show wonder, is The Sopranos based on a real family? It turns out Tony Soprano and his community of mobsters were, in part, based on the true story of the Descavalcante family. Admittedly, when it comes to the mob, truth is often stranger than fiction. It’s no wonder that many of those infamous stories make it to the big screen.

The Mob Queens Podcast tells one of the lesser-known stories. It details the life of Anna Genovese, a pivotal figure in the drag queen cabaret scene of mid-century Manhattan. But she was also married to the mob. Tired of her husband’s antic’s she fought for a divorce, and when he finally landed in court for his crimes she scandalized the world when she testified against him. Defying her criminal husband was a brave act indeed. Talk about a bad breakup…

Happy Face Killer Podcast

The Happy Face Killer Podcast is compelling, in part, because it answers a burning question most true crime fans ponder from time to time: what would it be like to be the child of a Ted Bundy, or a Richard Ramirez, or a Jeffrey Dahmer?

To most people, their dad is their number one superhero. But for Melissa Moore, her serial killer father was the opposite. Keith Hunter Jesperson killed at least 8 women in the early 1990s. He was known as the “Happy Face Killer” because he drew smiley faces on his taunting letters sent to the media and police.

This true crime podcast tells the story of what it’s like to be the child of a serial killer from the perspective of someone who actually lived it.

Deadly Secrets: The Lawson Family Murder

“They say he killed his wife at first

And then the little ones did cry

“Please, Papa, won’t you spare our life?

For it is so hard to die!”

These lyrics are from a song called “The Lawson Family Murder.” The folk tune was originally recorded by the Carolina Buddies, and quickly became a murder ballad hit. But the narrative it outlined was no fiction.

In 1929 Dr. Charles Lawson murdered his wife and six of his seven children in an apparent murder-suicide. Before Lawson killed himself, he dragged the dead bodies of his family into the tobacco barn and laid their heads on pillows of stone. Only the eldest son, who had been sent on an errand, survived. Hours later, Lawson ventured out into the woods never to be seen again. It seemed he had ultimately taken his own life last.

Nobody knows exactly why Lawson committed the murders. But Deadly Secrets: The Lawson Family Murder podcast will fascinate you with theories. Travel back in time to that gristly Christmas Day, and decide for yourself–but we don’t recommend adding the old hillbilly tune to your holiday music line-up.

True Crime: Family Secrets 

George Bernard Shaw famously said, “A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”

Well, as these true crime podcasts prove, some families are a living hell. 
Craving more true crime? Check out these true crime podcasts that delve into dark stories of romance gone wrong.

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