A Podcast Available Only On Audible
In this limited documentary podcast series, Michael Connelly returns to his roots in journalism and examines the Wonderland Murders, an iconic and brutal mass murder in a city known for its murders. Named for the street in Laurel Canyon where the murders took place inside the house of a small-time drug gang, it’s a gruesome crime that reflected its time, disrupted a mythology and tells a broader story of Los Angeles, the American dream machine, and when justice does – and doesn’t – work. And for the first time, a notorious “missing” witness unlocks it all and puts the pieces together.
The podcast follows the nine lives of a man known best as Liberace’s lover and confidant, played by Matt Damon in the movie Behind the Candelabra, revealing himself here to be the “Zelig of Awful” and our tour guide into Hollywood’s dark underbelly. He is either the ultimate conman or the ultimate witness to the secret history of Hollywood.
Though it happened in 1981, the aftermath of the Wonderland Murders spans decades with characters, details, subplots and investigative twists that prove the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction adage, including: Hollywood underworld’s most violent drug kingpin; three murder trials with zero convictions; a bribed juror and accusations of a corrupt federal agent; the birth of the crack cocaine epidemic; the investigators being investigated themselves; the Black Guerilla Family; the biggest porn actor of his generation, John Holmes, not to mention wild claims about the drug use of many major celebrities; a Boston mafia Don; and finally, the story of a quick-buck televangelist who was supposed to be in witness protection when he ended up on the floor of a Florida motel shot in the face and left for dead…
Featured throughout are:
Det. Tom Lange, Det. Bob Souza – lead detectives on the Wonderland case out of LAPD’s elite investigation unit, the Robbery Homicide Division (RHD), and authors of their personal account of the case, Malice in Wonderland. In the course of their investigation, the detectives dealt with snitches, thieves, drug addicts and porn stars as well as a powerful and connected prime suspect who was able to turn the investigation against them.
Scott Thorson – the “missing” Wonderland witness, most known as the author of Behind the Candelabra, which chronicled his years as Liberace’s live-in boyfriend. The podcast picks up from there and chronicles his descent into drug addiction and crime, all while haunting the dark underground of Hollywood.
“It is exciting to be releasing this podcast on Audible, a company I’ve had a long and fruitful association with. The podcast will take the listener behind the scenes of this infamous case and look at it from angles never seen before. If you think you know this story already, you are wrong.” – Michael Connelly
Audible has released this podcast in their world English territories. It is available exclusively to Audible members. Don’t have a membership? Your first month of Audible is free, so anyone without a membership is welcome to try it free to listen to the podcast.
Listen to an excerpt from Episode 1: The Unreliable Narrator
Listen to an excerpt from Episode 2: It Was A Bloodbath
Some photos of from the crime scene, the victims, the newspaper, Scott Thorson and Liberace, and the murder books.
Listen to three excerpts from Episode 3: The Man Who Knew Too Much
Listen to three excerpts from Episode 4: The Dark Side
Listen to two excerpts from Episode 5: One Way Out
Listen to two excerpts from Episode 6: “Your Client Murdered Those People”
Listen to two excerpts from Episode 7: The Reckoning
Listen to two excerpts from the final episode, Episode 8: Last Man Standing (Sympathy For The Devil)