Wow! That’s what I have to say about this wonderfully written non-fiction. Part true crime and part memoir, Liza Rodman along with Jennifer Jordan, depict the events that unfurled in Cape Cod in the mid 60’s. Known as the Vampire of Cape Cod, Tony Costa was behind the murders of at least 5 women in and the Cape Cod area. His murders are gruesome in nature and more than one of his victims were found dismembered in swallow graves.
Liza Rodman was a kid during the murders and it wasn’t until she was an adult that she would discover that her and her sister’s occasional babysitter, was a murderer. When she learned that Tony was the infament killer, she became obsessed with the case and how her beloved babysitter could have been a murderer.
Divided into two narratives, we have Liza’s memoir chapter that portray a lonely young girl living during the ‘Summer of Love. We also have the chapters soles focused on Tony Costa. His chapters read more like your traditional true crime novel, and dive deep into Tony’s psyche and eventual murders.
I’m not a huge memoir fan but I really enjoyed Liza’s chapters throughout the book. They dive deep into her strained relationship with her mother but also talk about what it was like to be a kid in the 1960’s. Many of the events she retells would never fly in today’s world and it’s honestly amazing to see how different society is 50 years later. Throughout Liza’s chapters she details her interactions with Tony Costa, highlighting certain events that in hindsight are extremely questionable. Personally, I would have read a complete memoir of Liza’s story without a true crime attachment. Her writing is captivating and gave me all the emotions, including plenty of aghast over the way she was frequently ostracized within her family.
In Tony’s chapters we get a glimpse into his childhood, including a view of loving home, if not an ideal home for Tony. His constant fixation on the loss of his father at a young age, and the eventually ‘abandonment’ of his mother (which is what Tony labeled his mother for remarrying) most likely lead to his sporadic tendency. Once out of childhood, Tony’s sexual desires were perverse early on, and the graphic nature of his marriage were hard to digest. In addition to Tony’s background, the event sequences that lead to each murder are listed out and written with just enough detail to convey actions without being overly gory. I often found myself forgetting this was a non-fiction book, just from the clear picture being offered to readers. I can tell that this book was completely and thoroughly researched.
As a self proclaimed true crime junkie it’s no wonder I picked up this book. However, the appeal of this book will bypass just crime junkies. The amount of cultural history that is included within these pages, makes this book a great option for anyone in need of a solid non-fiction book. Everything about this book just worked and I can’t rate it high enough.
AMAZON | GOODREADS |★★★★★
The Babysitter is out now. Huge thank you to Atria for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof_books.
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