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Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1960s, Liza Rodman was a lonely little girl. During the summers, while her mother worked days in a local motel and danced most nights in the Provincetown bars, her babysitter—the kind, handsome handyman at the motel where her mother worked—took her and her sister on adventures in his truck. But there was one thing she didn’t know; their babysi Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1960s, Liza Rodman was a lonely little girl. During the summers, while her mother worked days in a local motel and danced most nights in the Provincetown bars, her babysitter—the kind, handsome handyman at the motel where her mother worked—took her and her sister on adventures in his truck. But there was one thing she didn’t know; their babysitter was a serial killer. Some of his victims were buried—in pieces—right there, in his garden in the woods. Though Tony Costa’s gruesome case made screaming headlines in 1969 and beyond, Liza never made the connection between her friendly babysitter and the infamous killer of numerous women, including four in Massachusetts, until decades later. Haunted by nightmares and horrified by what she learned, Liza became obsessed with the case. Now, she and cowriter Jennifer Jordan reveal the chilling and unforgettable true story of a charming but brutal psychopath through the eyes of a young girl who once called him her friend.


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Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1960s, Liza Rodman was a lonely little girl. During the summers, while her mother worked days in a local motel and danced most nights in the Provincetown bars, her babysitter—the kind, handsome handyman at the motel where her mother worked—took her and her sister on adventures in his truck. But there was one thing she didn’t know; their babysi Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1960s, Liza Rodman was a lonely little girl. During the summers, while her mother worked days in a local motel and danced most nights in the Provincetown bars, her babysitter—the kind, handsome handyman at the motel where her mother worked—took her and her sister on adventures in his truck. But there was one thing she didn’t know; their babysitter was a serial killer. Some of his victims were buried—in pieces—right there, in his garden in the woods. Though Tony Costa’s gruesome case made screaming headlines in 1969 and beyond, Liza never made the connection between her friendly babysitter and the infamous killer of numerous women, including four in Massachusetts, until decades later. Haunted by nightmares and horrified by what she learned, Liza became obsessed with the case. Now, she and cowriter Jennifer Jordan reveal the chilling and unforgettable true story of a charming but brutal psychopath through the eyes of a young girl who once called him her friend.

30 review for The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    ”Close your eyes and count to ten,” he whispered. I felt his breath on my cheek. The barrel of the gun was hard and cold against my forehead. I counted, and when I opened my eyes, he was gone. I sat up quickly in bed, gasping, my body soaked with sweat. What the hell was that? Thus begins The Babysitter, a telling of growing up unaware that one of the author’s favorite adults was not who she’d thought. Liza Rodman - image from Simon & Schuster – Photo by Joel Benjamin In 2005, Liza Rodman, then ”Close your eyes and count to ten,” he whispered. I felt his breath on my cheek. The barrel of the gun was hard and cold against my forehead. I counted, and when I opened my eyes, he was gone. I sat up quickly in bed, gasping, my body soaked with sweat. What the hell was that? Thus begins The Babysitter, a telling of growing up unaware that one of the author’s favorite adults was not who she’d thought. Liza Rodman - image from Simon & Schuster – Photo by Joel Benjamin In 2005, Liza Rodman, then in her forties, was working on the thesis for her undergraduate degree when she began having frequent nightmares. It was not her first such experience. She had had these for a long time, but all of a sudden they were happening every night. In one, her husband was trying to kill her with a fireplace poker. Another featured a man killing nurses and eating their hearts. The dreams kept coming, with a faceless man chasing her, always with a weapon. She would wake up as her dream self was about to crash through a window, fleeing for her life. Jennifer Jordan - image from her site – photo by Jeff Rhoads Clearly there was motivation to figure out this puzzle, so she started writing about them, incorporating them into her thesis, over a two year period, drawing out more and more details. One dream-site was The Royal Coachman motel where she, her mother, and sister had lived for a time in Provincetown. Another was Bayberry Bend, a P-town motel her mother had owned. Slowly the process moved along, six months of regular dreams, more images, months more of nightmares, until she saw the face, a familiar one, someone she hadn’t seen since she was a kid, a handyman hired to work at the motel where her mother was employed. His mother worked at the motel too. He was one of a series of people who took care of her and her sister, a really nice guy, one of the few adults who were kind to them, who never yelled at or hit them, who took them around with him in the motel’s utility truck, on chores, to the dump, to his garden in the woods, but who had disappeared when she was ten. This was not all that unusual for the adult males who scooted through her childhood. Why would she be having dark dreams about that guy? So she decides to ask her mother, then in her 70s, what this might all mean. “Did something happen to me back then that you’re not telling me?” I said, suddenly wondering if it did. “What do you mean, happen to you?” “With Tony Costa.” “Tony Costa? Why are you still thinking about him?” “I wasn’t until I had a nightmare about him.” She was quiet for a moment too long, and I stopped stirring and waited. Mom rarely paused to contemplate her words, so I watched, curious as to what was going to come out of her mouth. “Well,” she said, watching the gin swirl around the glass. “I remember he turned out to be a serial killer.” She said it calmly, as if she were reading the weather report. Oh, is that all? Not all that surprising from Betty. Liza’s divorced mom was not exactly the best. While she did manage to keep body and soul together for herself and her two girls, she was frequently cruel to Liza, for no reason that the child could fathom. Mom, in fact is a major focus of the book, as chapters flip back and forth, more or less, between a focus on Tony and a focus on Liza and her relationship with her mother. Antone Charles “Tony” Costa, Provincetown handyman and murderer of four young women. (Photo courtesy Barnstable County Identity Bureau) – image from the author’s site Who was this guy? Tony Costa never got to know his father, who had drowned trying to save a fellow seaman in New Guinea near the end of World War II, when Tony was only eight months old. He would be obsessed with his war hero dad for the rest of his life. There were early signs of trouble with Tony. At age seven he claimed to have been visited regularly by a man in his bedroom at night, an actual intruder? a fantasy? an obsession? He said the man looked like his father. He stood out among his peers during summers in Provincetown, his mother’s birthplace, cooler, smarter, and more “inside himself” than anyone else, according to a kid he hung out with there. Then there was the taxidermy kit. Lots of killing of small animals, neighborhood pets going missing, yet never a successful display of a stuffed animal. There is no mention of bed-wetting in his psychopath Bingo card, but who knows? We know he was raped as a pre-teen, and was probably one of several victims of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest in Provincetown. So his potential for madness certainly had some outside assistance. He was accused of attempting to rape a young girl as a teen. Jen and Liza, Northampton, 1979 - image from Rodman’s site Tony was smart and handsome, but had terrible judgment, a ne’er do well, capable at work but unable to hold onto a job. He became a heavy drug user and local dealer. Clearly this guy had some charisma (as well as a considerable supply of illegal substances) and a way with young teens. A pedophile who married his pregnant fourteen-year-old girlfriend, he kept a crowd of young acolytes around him unable or unwilling to see through his line of distilled, grandiose, narcissistic bullshit. Cult-leader stuff. There is a Manson-like quality to him. And, like most narcissists, he was never willing to accept any responsibility for his own actions, always insisting that people were out to get him, blaming others for things he had done. The VW Tony stole after murdering its owner. A local spotted it in the woods and notified the local police, which spelled doom for Tony Costa - image from the author’s FB pages There is more going on here then personal profiles of the major actors. A lot is made of how different from the mainstream Provincetown was, particularly during the tourist season. The ethos was much more accepting of whatever than most places. With people coming and going so much, it was custom-made for a predator. It was the 60s, man, drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll, and kids taking off for adventures, whether drug-related or not, and thus not necessarily raising instant alarms when they went missing. In 1971, for example, I bought an old Post Office truck at auction for three hundred bucks, and drove across country with three friends. (well, tried, we never actually made it across the continent) No cellphone, no regular check-ins. We didn’t exactly file a flight plan. If we had come to a bad end, no one would have known, or been alarmed back home for weeks. This is something a lot of people did. Of course, we were not runaways, and we were not female. That would have been a whole other order of business. The cops in Provincetown took a lackadaisical attitude toward worried parents looking for missing progeny. “Don’t worry. I’m sure they will turn up in due time.” And they were probably right, mostly. Except, sometimes they weren’t. It took a lot of pushing from those concerned about the missing young women to get the police to pay much attention. Rodman and Jordan provide a very detailed look at the various police departments that became involved in Tony’s case, both the occasional good police work and the ineptitude of inter-departmental communications. Sound familiar? The locals were slow to allow for the possibility that there was a killer in their midst. Even today, there is an urge to protect one of their own, despite it being fifty years since the events of the book. “I got threats when I wrote this book,” Liza says. It’s a loving portrait of the town, but not especially flattering. “I have a comfort level there that I don’t have anywhere else. Even in the face of this book.” - from The Provincetown Independent It was her sister’s 8th birthday. At the moment Liza was making a face at the camera, Tony was leading two young women into the Truro woods, where he would murder and bury them. - image from the author’s FB pages One of the things about true crime books is that there is an element of suspense that is lacking. We know that little Liza will grow up to write this book, so we know that Tony did not kill her. This makes it more like a Columbo episode, knowing that the bad guy will get got, but enjoying seeing how that ultimately happens. That said, this is not a straight-up true crime effort. It is a fusion of true crime with memoir. Half of the book is about Liza’s childhood, her relationship with her mother in particular. It is an interesting look at how someone can survive a bad parent-child relationship. Showing how things were for Liza at home makes her a more sympathetic narrator for the other story. Geez, ya poor kid. I sure hope nothing else bad happens t’ya. And it makes it much more understandable how a kid who was starved for adult affection and attention would be drawn to an adult who was offering kindness and interest. I did not get the frisson of fear reading this that pervaded in another true crime book, I'll Be Gone in the Dark. Maybe because the killer in this one was long ago jailed, whereas the California killer had not yet been arrested when that book came out. But there is a certain vertigo, like walking near a cliff edge, blindfolded, only to realize the danger you were in when you take it off. It is distinctly possible that Liza might have found her way into Tony’s special garden if he had managed to stay out of jail for a few more years. Liza was like the little girl playing with Frankenstein in the movie, not realizing that Frankie was more than just a large playmate, and seemingly friendly soul. Whew! Rodman had been working on this project for about thirteen years. It happened that, in 2018, Jordan, a professional writer, was casting about for her next book project (She had previously published four books.) when she thought of her dear friend, Liza, (they had met in college) who was thrilled at the suggestion that they collaborate. So, sixteen years of research in all and here it is. An in depth look at a monstrous series of events, a sick individual, an interesting place in a time of upheaval, a difficult childhood, an odd friendship, and a very close call. The Babysitter is an engaging, informative read that will make you appreciate your sane parents, most likely, and appreciate your luck even more in never having had such a person as Tony in your life. (You haven’t, right?) His coterie of teenagers, his stash of pills, and his marijuana helped mask his ever-increasing feelings of inferiority; by surrounding himself with idolizing acolytes who needed a hero, he could feel more in control, sophisticated, confident, and, of course, more intelligent. Review posted – March 5, 2021 Publication date – March 2, 2021 I received an ARE of The Babysitter from Atria in return for an honest review. I did not charge them my usual rate of ten bucks an hour and whatever I want to eat from their fridge. ===========================EXTRA STUFF Links to Liza Rodman’s ’s personal, FB, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages Links to Jennifer Jordan’s personal and FB pages Interviews -----Red Carpet Crash – February 24, 2021 - Interview: Authors ‘Liza Rodman And Jennifer Jordan’ Talk Their Book The Babysitter: My Summers With A Serial Killer - audio – 17:02 - definitely check this one out -----New York Post - February 27, 2021 - How I discovered my babysitter Tony Costa was a serial killer by Raquel Laneri -----The Provincetown Independent – February 24, 2021 - Remembrance of Serial Murders Past by Howard Karren -----WickedLocal.com – February 23, 2021 - In new memoir, local serial killer Tony Costa babysat two youngsters by Susan Blood Items of Interest -----Frankenstein playing with sweet young Maria -----Columbo - or substituting for whodunit the howchatchem -----My review of I'll Be Gone in the Dark Songs/Music The author's site provides a link to a considerable list of 39 songs mentioned in the book. But you have to have a membership to hear the full songs on Spotify instead of just the clips that are available on Rodman’s site.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    Summer 1966. With seven year old Liza and five year old Louisa in tow, divorcee Betty started a job as Head of Housekeeping at the Royal Coachman Motel on the Outer Cape, just north of the Truro town line. By day, Betty would work diligently, however, nighttime was spent partying at bars and dance clubs. Her children were an inconvenience, especially Liza. "Mom didn't show me any affection-hugs, caresses...it felt as if Mom had it in for me right from the start. Always ready with an insult". Kin Summer 1966. With seven year old Liza and five year old Louisa in tow, divorcee Betty started a job as Head of Housekeeping at the Royal Coachman Motel on the Outer Cape, just north of the Truro town line. By day, Betty would work diligently, however, nighttime was spent partying at bars and dance clubs. Her children were an inconvenience, especially Liza. "Mom didn't show me any affection-hugs, caresses...it felt as if Mom had it in for me right from the start. Always ready with an insult". Kindly, older housekeeper Cecelia, would allow Liza to tag along, allowing her to help. Cecelia "always thanked me with a smile...even a hug. It was the hugs that I waited for most". "My Tony is a good man," said Cecelia, of her older son. Returning from a trip, Tony was hired as the motel's handyman. He became one of the "random" babysitters Betty used when she deemed Liza and Louisa to be "underfoot all day". "They would ride to the dumps with him often stopping to buy popsicles. "We became his regular companions...I loved that he never seemed to be in a rush or eager to get rid of us. Unlike every other adult in our lives, he seemed to like just being with us. One day, Tony disappeared...More than anything I missed riding around town in the truck with Tony and feeling like I belonged somewhere". "From the beginning Tony was different from the other kids-somehow cooler, smarter, and more 'inside himself'." Remembered by early teachers for "splendid cooperation and honesty", at age 12, a dramatic change occurred. As an adult, Tony worked at the Royal Coachman but often spent nights walking or sleeping on the dunes. He felt he was "sitting outside himself observing 'Tony' from a distance...someone else...totally removed, separate from that Tony...it fascinated him...". Liza remembered visiting Tony's "secret garden". Louisa and I went all over the Cape with him...He took us on his errands and out to the dump and out to the Truro woods...Our Tony? A serial killer?" [Tony] had read somewhere that liars cannot meet the gaze of those questioning them, so Tony trained himself to stare unblinkingly into the eyes of anyone who challenged him. It was more than unnerving...". Getting away with murder?...Tony eventually made a "greedy" mistake. "The Babysitter: My Summers With a Serial Killer" by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan is a well written, true crime read based upon the childhood recollections of Liza Rodman, of summers spent in the company of serial killer Tony Costa. Along with co-author Jennifer Jordan, they viewed multiple sources including police reports, trial documents and Tony Costa's prison diary written in Barnstable County Jail. This well researched tome was a gripping, spine tingling read. Would Tony have "groomed" Liza or Louisa? I would like to think not. I highly recommend this book. Thank you Atria Books and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **3.5-stars rounded up** The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer is a part-Memoir, part-True Crime novel told by Liza Rodman. Alternating between Liza-chapters and Tony-chapters, this book tells of Liza's early life and her interactions with the serial killer, Tony Costa. It also delves into the details of Tony's life and crimes based on the author's research. Liza was just a girl when her summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, brought her into contact with Tony; a young man she greatly a **3.5-stars rounded up** The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer is a part-Memoir, part-True Crime novel told by Liza Rodman. Alternating between Liza-chapters and Tony-chapters, this book tells of Liza's early life and her interactions with the serial killer, Tony Costa. It also delves into the details of Tony's life and crimes based on the author's research. Liza was just a girl when her summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, brought her into contact with Tony; a young man she greatly admired. Liza's mother frequently let her two daughters go off with Tony, a coworker of hers at a local motel, to run errands. He would buy the girls popsicles and take them on rides in his truck to the Truro Woods. The two alternating portions of the book were quite distinct. Liza's early life was troubled. She never felt wanted, or loved, and it felt like the sections detailing her life were a bit of a therapeutic exercise for her. Tony's sections follow his life from an early age, up through his imprisonment. This is definitely an interesting book. I live on Nantucket, off the Cape, so am quite familiar with the areas detailed here. It sounds like the Cape of the 1960s was a wild place to be. It took me a while to get used to the alternating perspectives, the flow felt a little off, but overall, I am happy with it. I think if you like both Memoirs and True Crime, the melding of the two genres is actually quite pleasing. Thank you so much to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate it very much!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    One need not be a Chamber -to be Haunted -Emily Dickinson In the 1960's Liza Rodman grew up a lonely girl. Her mother worked at a local Motel and went dancing most nights in Provincetown. Her babysitter was the handyman (Tony) at the Motel where her mother worked. He would take Liza and her sister, Louisa, on adventures in his truck, treating them to popsicles and taking them on adventures in the woods. He made their summers fun. Liza and her sister thought he was a nice guy. It was not until la One need not be a Chamber -to be Haunted -Emily Dickinson In the 1960's Liza Rodman grew up a lonely girl. Her mother worked at a local Motel and went dancing most nights in Provincetown. Her babysitter was the handyman (Tony) at the Motel where her mother worked. He would take Liza and her sister, Louisa, on adventures in his truck, treating them to popsicles and taking them on adventures in the woods. He made their summers fun. Liza and her sister thought he was a nice guy. It was not until later that Liza would learn that he was a serial killer. Some of his victims were buried in the same woods where he took Liza and her sister on adventures. **Tony Costa made headlines in 1969 when he was suspected of killing seven women but was convicted of killing only two. Four years into his incarceration, he committed suicide. It was not until she was older, that Liza put two and two together and realized that her fun babysitter was a killer of women. When she questioned her mother about him, her mother's response was "Yeah, so what?"….” He didn't kill you, did he?" Needless to say, Liza's mother never won any mother of the year awards. As you can imagine, she was intrigued, haunted, and troubled by what she learned. She began researching the man who babysat her and killed numerous women. She wrote this book with the help of Jennifer Jordan. I found this book to be well written, well researched and thought provoking. Some following my reviews know that I used to work with serial killer, murderers, rapists, etc. when I worked in forensics. Obviously, they were court ordered to treatment after they were caught. It has always fascinated me what they were like in their day to day lives prior to arrest and conviction. I thought the authors did a brilliant job of showing Tony throughout his life, his marriage, and his interactions with her and others. I applaud their attention to detail and the use of trial documents, police reports, interviews with those who knew him, Liza's memories, and Tony's diary. Fans of True Crime will not be disappointed. You will learn about a serial killer who is not as well-known as say Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer. But his case is fascinating as is Liza's childhood. She could even write another book about her mother if she wanted to do so. It is sad that no one intervened and removed the two girls from her care. Liza could also write a book about Tony's mother, Cecelia, who also worked at the Motel and was loving and kind to Liza and turned a blind eye to Tony's lifestyle and crimes. Riveting, thought provoking and well researched. A Must Read for True Crime fans. Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bridgett

    "Each body was cut into as many parts as there are joints." True crime novels run hot and cold for me. I absolutely hated I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, as it was an unorganized mess, but I've always really enjoyed Ann Rule novels, particularly The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story. Needless to say, I was a little leery diving into The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer, but ended up being pleasantly surprise "Each body was cut into as many parts as there are joints." True crime novels run hot and cold for me. I absolutely hated I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, as it was an unorganized mess, but I've always really enjoyed Ann Rule novels, particularly The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story. Needless to say, I was a little leery diving into The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer, but ended up being pleasantly surprised. This true crime offering was clean, easy to follow, organized, and well-written. Alternating chapters told not only Tony Costa's story (The Cape Cod Cannibal), but also that of Liza Rodman's childhood, the things she remembered about Tony (who often babysat her and her sister, Louisa), and her life growing up in Provincetown. Unlike some of the more well-known serial killers, Tony Costa's was not a name I was familiar with, so this story was doubly interesting for me, as I knew nothing about these brutal crimes at all. It was quite absorbing, and I was impressed by how well researched this book was. The research was so thorough, in fact, that Ms. Rodman actually discovered what happened to three women suspected of being additional Tony Costa victims, and she told their stories in the epilogue. I do think pictures should have been included. They're so helpful in achieving a sense of the people in true crime novels, and it saves readers from having to look up all the story's players themselves. Oddly enough, during my internet searches, I think I found Tony Costa's wife, Avis, on Facebook. The couple was married when she was just thirteen or fourteen, and she had three children by the time she was eighteen. Costa was, clearly, a fascinating and deeply disturbed individual. If you love true crime, are a sucker for serial killers, and enjoy clean, well-written text...I'd definitely recommend this book. Available March 2, 2021 3.5 stars rounded up My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Atria for my review copy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ScrappyMags

    Officially freaked out. 4.5 stars. Shortest Summary Ever: Liza Rodman has a pretty awful mom - one who drags her and her sister around working jobs where she can meet men, partying all night, and leaving her kids in the care of random people. One of these random people was serial killer Tony Costa who took them for rides to the woods, aka his victim burial grounds. Liza’s recollection is captured here. Thoughts: This is a book that made me mad, sick, and troubled - which is what it should be. I was Officially freaked out. 4.5 stars. Shortest Summary Ever: Liza Rodman has a pretty awful mom - one who drags her and her sister around working jobs where she can meet men, partying all night, and leaving her kids in the care of random people. One of these random people was serial killer Tony Costa who took them for rides to the woods, aka his victim burial grounds. Liza’s recollection is captured here. Thoughts: This is a book that made me mad, sick, and troubled - which is what it should be. I was engrossed in every shocking turn and several moments forgot I was reading non-fiction. While the description casts the spotlight on Tony Costa, the true attention of the story for me was on Liza and her life story of abuse from a negligent, appallingly absent, and crass mother with poor judgement to say the least. Then, to learn this awful truth later in life and process what this means is mind-bending. I’m a teacher and therefore abuse is a “hot-button” for me, but listening to how this selfish mother dragged her daughter around like old luggage - leaving her with a trail of miscreants made me simply sad, perhaps even as disgusted as hearing about Costa’s murders and the havoc he wreaked on so many lives. But while Costa was surrounded by people who in many ways enabled him, Liza SURVIVED. And it sounds like she flourished and that made the book amazing to know the light is there. Perhaps the question should be - was Liza’s mom any less psychotic than Costa? 🤔 When one exposes her children (even unknowingly), to a man like this, does she share equal blame? This is my “chew on that” as you read this brilliant work. Imma go hug my awesome mom now. All my reviews available at scrappymags.com around time of publication. Genre: Non-fiction, True Crime Recommend to: Serial killer readers, Fans of true gritty and downright honest details. This is the story/“deal with it” type of book. Not recommended to: if you can’t handle child abuse/neglect. I almost quit but I stuck it out. Thank you to the author, NetGalley and Atria Books for my advanced copy in exchange for my always-honest review and for thanking the heavens for an amazing mom.

  7. 5 out of 5

    jenny✨

    DNF @ 72%; this is the first ARC I’ve ever been unable to finish, and I’m pretty disappointed. :( I’d like to start by saying that I pass no judgment on the content of this book. Memoirs are tricky for me to rate and review because I don’t feel that I’m in any position to critique someone’s experiences. So let me get it out there: My star rating in no way reflects the author’s story. Rather, I did not jibe whatsoever with the presentation of said story. The prose is confusing and/or mediocre at be DNF @ 72%; this is the first ARC I’ve ever been unable to finish, and I’m pretty disappointed. :( I’d like to start by saying that I pass no judgment on the content of this book. Memoirs are tricky for me to rate and review because I don’t feel that I’m in any position to critique someone’s experiences. So let me get it out there: My star rating in no way reflects the author’s story. Rather, I did not jibe whatsoever with the presentation of said story. The prose is confusing and/or mediocre at best, stilted and unnecessarily offensive at worst. At one point the book is describing the people who populated Provincetown in the 60’s: liberal artists, hippies, and “homosexuals,” all of who transformed good kids into troubled teenagers. (Needless to say, I did not appreciate the insinuation that gay people were corrupting influences.)* In another instance, during one of Tony’s chapters, there’s this line about a girl being a “true redhead”* (emphasis mine) because she was pestering Tony and making demands of him. I was confused by this. Is “redhead” somehow slang for “feisty”? Am I… missing something here? Or did the book just stereotype all people with red hair as inherently demanding and overbearing? That being said, I understand, obviously, that homophobia was rampant in the 1960s in a way that it isn’t now. I understand that Tony was a bigot who probably did refer to redheads (along with women, gay people, people of colour, religious minorities—heck, EVERYONE) in derogatory terms. But the issue I have is that this isn’t a book written by Tony. As such, there was no need for these iffy descriptions to be used. Again: I’m not casting judgment on the authors. And I’d like to give the book the benefit of the doubt, so let’s talk about my main gripes with the prose in The Babysitter: it just wasn’t easy for me to read. Several sentences were weirdly structured and required several rereads before I could parse out their meaning; this really bogged down my reading experience. Moreover, quotes and testimonials were inserted awkwardly rather than seamlessly into the text. The result was that I felt jarred out of the book, when I would’ve liked for these firsthand quotations to imbue the story with a greater sense of nuance or realism. Bottom line: Not the book for me, unfortunately! But many readers and reviewers have had a great time with The Babysitter, so maybe it’s best for you to read this and make your own call. * Many thanks to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster, and Atria Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. The quotes and specific examples I cited in my review were taken from an uncorrected advance proof and will be verified with the published copy when it releases on March 2, 2021.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    A dark and disturbing true crime memoir that tells the story of author Liza Rodman, as a young girl and her babysitter, Tony Costa, the serial killer. There is so much detail and thought put into this book. I found Liza's childhood so upsetting and wanted to give her mom a shake. Half of the time I couldn't believe what I was reading. Learning about Tony had me both horrified and entralled. I am brand new to the world of true crime. This was my first and won't be my last. The Babysitter is well A dark and disturbing true crime memoir that tells the story of author Liza Rodman, as a young girl and her babysitter, Tony Costa, the serial killer. There is so much detail and thought put into this book. I found Liza's childhood so upsetting and wanted to give her mom a shake. Half of the time I couldn't believe what I was reading. Learning about Tony had me both horrified and entralled. I am brand new to the world of true crime. This was my first and won't be my last. The Babysitter is well written, researched and fascinating - though it almost feels wrong saying that considering the subject matter. Huge thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada  and Atria books for my review copy!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ludwig Reads

    4.5 stars. “Can you keep a secret?” “What kind of secret?” “It’s something I’ve got in the woods...I only show it to my *closest* pals and chicks. Wanna see it?” This one turned out to be much more than a story about a real-life serial killer; it’s not as black and white as you’d think, but I’ll get to that in a second. First, I found it refreshing that The Babysitter reads almost like a psychological thriller; you can say that it’s part thriller (based on true events), part true crime. Alternating 4.5 stars. “Can you keep a secret?” “What kind of secret?” “It’s something I’ve got in the woods...I only show it to my *closest* pals and chicks. Wanna see it?” This one turned out to be much more than a story about a real-life serial killer; it’s not as black and white as you’d think, but I’ll get to that in a second. First, I found it refreshing that The Babysitter reads almost like a psychological thriller; you can say that it’s part thriller (based on true events), part true crime. Alternating between Liza (the author as a little girl) and serial killer Tony Costa (the babysitter), the book includes full, engaging dialogue between the characters, a creepy atmosphere all throughout and shockingly unsettling backgrounds on both Tony and Liza. The stories of these two merge flawlessly into one another: she’s the little girl who finds out that the killer that her town has been endlessly talking about is her kind and loving friend, Tony Costa: a killer with the strangest, most complex characteristics. And through multiple sources (several psychologists’ notes, witness testimonies, the killer’s manuscript, etc), you’ll be able to understand Tony’s upbringing, where he comes from, and how/why he committed all these murders. There is an incredibly informative “endnotes” section at the end of the book that you can refer to for each of these sources. And now, to my next point; this isn’t all what the book revolves around; Liza Rodmann’s POV is a powerful key element to why she chose to tell this story. You get to see the fear and horror that Liza has been through when she was a child, which would also follow and haunt her for the following years. Her side of the story completely gripped me and, and due to how unexpectedly dark it was, will undoubtedly stay with me for years. Also, I love the fact that the two co-authors joined forces in order to investigate several 50-year-old mysteries, and ended up actually solving them! Both women have done such an excellent job with this book; it was thoroughly-researched and expertly-written. The Babysitter comes out in March 2021!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    It’s been a while since I’ve read True Crime! This one sounds FASCINATING. *Thanks Jordan & Carrie of the Mystery Book Club for my copy!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sheena

    The Babysitter was one of my most anticipated arcs for March and super hard to get through. Not even because of the content but the WRITING. The writing needs heavy editing. It would talk about the most mundane and random topics that added nothing to the book. I don't think we needed to know about Liza's relationship with her mom, her first crush, how she moved to different towns as a child.. that could easily go into a memoir, not a true-crime novel. I wanted to know what happened to Tony the s The Babysitter was one of my most anticipated arcs for March and super hard to get through. Not even because of the content but the WRITING. The writing needs heavy editing. It would talk about the most mundane and random topics that added nothing to the book. I don't think we needed to know about Liza's relationship with her mom, her first crush, how she moved to different towns as a child.. that could easily go into a memoir, not a true-crime novel. I wanted to know what happened to Tony the serial killer which is the only reason I finished this book but I realized right after I could have just googled that. Literally kicking myself right now. Reading about Tony was creepy enough but the way this book was constructed was so poor and I couldn't wait for it to end. I had to skim the book and ended up even skipping some chapters. Thank you to Atria and Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Pole

    The Babysitter by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan is Ms Rodman's chilling true account of her time in the company of serial killer Tony Costa. I cannot recall ever hearing about Costa and his crimes, but this is a haunting telling that definitely brought to mind Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me about more widely recognized serial killer Ted Bundy. What struck me even more than her relationship with Costa was Liza's horrific abuse at the hands of her mother, a woman so heinous that she would lea The Babysitter by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan is Ms Rodman's chilling true account of her time in the company of serial killer Tony Costa. I cannot recall ever hearing about Costa and his crimes, but this is a haunting telling that definitely brought to mind Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me about more widely recognized serial killer Ted Bundy. What struck me even more than her relationship with Costa was Liza's horrific abuse at the hands of her mother, a woman so heinous that she would leave her two daughters in the care of virtually anyone who was willing, leading, of course, to the relationship with the motel handyman. As a child so desperate for any kind of attention, Liza was immediately drawn to Costa, a figure of some authority to a pair of young eyes. Taking Liza and her sister to the 'secret woods', in actuality a place he used as a burial ground for his victims, became a fun adventure that Tony shared with the girls, who rarely had any other opportunities to leave the motel that they called home. Throughout their relationship, Liza was blissfully unaware of the evil that resided in the man she considered her only friend. This is a dark and chilling account, but hopefully it is cathartic for the author in some way. That she continues to have a relationship with her mother to this day is nothing short of astounding, and certainly speaks to the power of forgiveness. Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to read this ARC.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather~ Nature.books.and.coffee

    Wow guys this one was a pretty crazy story. True Crime fans will definitely want to add this one to your list. It's a memoir, nonfiction that reads like a psychological thriller. I was definitely entralled with this one! Imagine finding out that when you were a child, the man you spent your summer with was actually a serial killer! 😱 This is such a well researched, intriguing read!! Have you read this yet or is it on your list?! Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy!! All opinions are my Wow guys this one was a pretty crazy story. True Crime fans will definitely want to add this one to your list. It's a memoir, nonfiction that reads like a psychological thriller. I was definitely entralled with this one! Imagine finding out that when you were a child, the man you spent your summer with was actually a serial killer! 😱 This is such a well researched, intriguing read!! Have you read this yet or is it on your list?! Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy!! All opinions are my own!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    The story of how a little girl's life intersected with a convicted serial killer is told in a meticulously researched and documented format that is also easily devoured. In the 1960's both Liza Rodman and Tony Costa were spending their summers in Provincetown. Liza's mother was a harried divorced mother who welcomed the "breaks" a babysitter would give her from caring for her two little girls. Tony was kind to the girls, giving them popsicles and letting them ride with him in his truck as he ran The story of how a little girl's life intersected with a convicted serial killer is told in a meticulously researched and documented format that is also easily devoured. In the 1960's both Liza Rodman and Tony Costa were spending their summers in Provincetown. Liza's mother was a harried divorced mother who welcomed the "breaks" a babysitter would give her from caring for her two little girls. Tony was kind to the girls, giving them popsicles and letting them ride with him in his truck as he ran errands. By the time Tony was convicted of two murders, Liza was still only ten years old and the adults in her life kept the truth from her. What a shock it would be to learn of this connection as an adult and recognize the trauma that remained. Sadly, Tony Costa had three factors in his young life that contributed to his unspeakable violence as an adult: 1) chromosomal, genetic, and hormonal abnormalities; 2) low-functioning prefrontal cortex; and 3) childhood neglect, trauma, and/or abuse. These three factors combined with drug abuse as a young adult created a monster. Fans of true crime will find this a fascinating read as will folks who enjoy watching shows like "Forensic Files." Thank you to Atria Books for a paperback ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Wade

    Thank you to Atria for this arc. This book will be published March 2! I really wanted to like this book. I thought it would give me The Fact of a Body vibes but it did not. I didn’t like the writing style and the vantage point of the younger Liza being told from adult Liza. Also the language she used felt offensive for no reason. I thought I’d be learning about this serial killer, Tony Costa but it didn’t feel like a factual story. It all seems like you’re hearing about him from someone who live Thank you to Atria for this arc. This book will be published March 2! I really wanted to like this book. I thought it would give me The Fact of a Body vibes but it did not. I didn’t like the writing style and the vantage point of the younger Liza being told from adult Liza. Also the language she used felt offensive for no reason. I thought I’d be learning about this serial killer, Tony Costa but it didn’t feel like a factual story. It all seems like you’re hearing about him from someone who lived 3 towns over who heard something from someone’s second cousin’s ex sister-in-law’s friend who works at the post office. I had to go back and check if I was reading a true story or not. I didn’t feel attached to this book at all. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I normally love true crime but I this one didn’t work for me. Don’t let my distress ruin this book for you! This one has great ratings here on goodreads, but it’s just not for me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    This true crime story was unique in that it is told in two parts. The first is pretty straight forward and typical as the serial killer, Tony Costa’s, life and crimes were chronicled. The second voice belongs to Liza, a woman who spend her childhood in the 60’s on Cape Cod frequently being watched by Tony Costa. Liza’s story is full of neglect and inappropriate physical discipline and it is scary to think how an attention starved 10 year old fell into the radar of such a troubled and dangerous m This true crime story was unique in that it is told in two parts. The first is pretty straight forward and typical as the serial killer, Tony Costa’s, life and crimes were chronicled. The second voice belongs to Liza, a woman who spend her childhood in the 60’s on Cape Cod frequently being watched by Tony Costa. Liza’s story is full of neglect and inappropriate physical discipline and it is scary to think how an attention starved 10 year old fell into the radar of such a troubled and dangerous man. Tony struggled with mental health issues which were made worse by the amount and variety of drugs he took, probably to manage his symptoms. True crime can be a little hit or miss for me but I really enjoyed this story of a serial killer before that descriptor existed.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    First of I want to say thank you to the publisher Atria Books- St.Martins for inviting me to read and review it as well as giving thanks to NetGalley because up until now I've never read or even heard about this case ,so it was a brand new to me which was a shock because I tend to listen to a lot of true crime podcast as well as read quite a lot of nonfiction and some of that is on true crimes or serial killers. This story is told in away that you get the story of both the author as well as the First of I want to say thank you to the publisher Atria Books- St.Martins for inviting me to read and review it as well as giving thanks to NetGalley because up until now I've never read or even heard about this case ,so it was a brand new to me which was a shock because I tend to listen to a lot of true crime podcast as well as read quite a lot of nonfiction and some of that is on true crimes or serial killers. This story is told in away that you get the story of both the author as well as the one about Tony Costa , and it brings to live how sick he was and how lucky she and her sister was to be alive today because they could have been his victims. You also see how both the sisters was treated and how Liz tried to keep herself as well as her sister safe. And the more you read about Tony you see how dark and twisted he was from the very start , from how he treated his wife ( who at times made me feel sorry for her) and how he seemed to have some kind of pull that made his victims come to him. Over all its well written and researched, and at times hard to read, especially when it delved into his crimes because it makes you feel the pain that the families went though.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Powell

    This is a very dark and disturbing memoir that details the life of Liza Rodman and her encounters with Tony Costa, who was a very famous serial killer (although tbh I had never heard of him) that died in prison still claiming his innocence. In a lot of ways it reminded me of Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me. But as Ms Rodman was a kid when she was around Mr Costa, it was even creepier in some ways. What was even more horrifying was her mother’s behavior and her genuine lack of any kind of mothe This is a very dark and disturbing memoir that details the life of Liza Rodman and her encounters with Tony Costa, who was a very famous serial killer (although tbh I had never heard of him) that died in prison still claiming his innocence. In a lot of ways it reminded me of Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me. But as Ms Rodman was a kid when she was around Mr Costa, it was even creepier in some ways. What was even more horrifying was her mother’s behavior and her genuine lack of any kind of motherly instinct and let anyone she could find, strangers in the grocery store even, take care of her kids so she could live her life. That’s how Tony Costa came into their world-he was looking for a job and her mother hired him on the spot without looking for any references or anything. Her mother was so self absorbed and didn’t want to be a mother that she didn’t care who cared for her kids as long as it wasn’t her. Tony was like able and attractive and kind to the kids, but in hindsight, Ms Rodman realizes that he was just grooming them for his unspeakable acts when they were older. Thankfully, he was caught and arrested for other murders before the girls were old enough to become his victims as well. And because Liza was so desperate for love and affection that she wasn’t getting from her mother (or her absentee father, she soaked up everything Tony offered, even when it meant going into the woods with him, her only real friend. This story is chilling and very graphic in its details, but also very factual and gripping. I was fascinated to see that Tony blamed everyone and everything he could think of for his crimes. I hope in writing out her story, the author got some closure to all she has been through. Thanks to Simon & Schuster /Atria and Netgalley for this arc in exchange for my review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Emma☀️

    DNF at 26% Reading this has not been a great experience. This is not a criticism on the story itself but rather how it was told. I could not get past the writing style - it was too disjointed and the narrative did not flow. Disappointing considering the Tony Costa case was so fascinating.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    I am pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the intertwining storyline in this memoir, as a fellow survivor of a narcissistic/abusive mother I empathize deeply with Liza and am glad to see she is also ending the cycle of abuse in her family. There are many reviews attesting to how interesting Tony’s story is but I find the strength and perseverance of the author to be the most important takeaway.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    “Part memoir, part crime investigation” Liza Rodman spent summers as a child in Cape Cod with her single mom who worked during the day and partied at night, leaving her children with whoever would watch them. One of Liza’s favorite “babysitters” was Tony Costa, who treated her kinder than her mother ever did. It wasn’t until she was an adult that Liza found out that Tony, was in fact, a convicted serial killer – and bodies had been found in the woods where Tony had taken her many times as a child “Part memoir, part crime investigation” Liza Rodman spent summers as a child in Cape Cod with her single mom who worked during the day and partied at night, leaving her children with whoever would watch them. One of Liza’s favorite “babysitters” was Tony Costa, who treated her kinder than her mother ever did. It wasn’t until she was an adult that Liza found out that Tony, was in fact, a convicted serial killer – and bodies had been found in the woods where Tony had taken her many times as a child. This book alternates between Liza’s memories of her lonely and tragic childhood, and Tony’s life as pieced together through extensive research. The Babysitter surprised me by being an easy read, despite often feeling heartbroken for Liza and horrified by Tony. A chilling and compelling read that I highly recommend to all fans of true crime. Thank you to Netgalley and Atria books for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda ~lilacsandliterature

    Thank you to Atria books for the advanced copy! As a huge fan of true crime, I’ve heard of many cases but for some reason had never heard of Tony Costa, The Cape Cod “Casanova” or “Vampire.” This book was my first introduction to the serial killer, and now I’m scrambling to learn everything abut the case. My two favorite genres are true crime and memoirs, and this book exceeded all expectations on both fronts. Told as a dual perspective between a young girl growing up on Cape Cod with a difficult Thank you to Atria books for the advanced copy! As a huge fan of true crime, I’ve heard of many cases but for some reason had never heard of Tony Costa, The Cape Cod “Casanova” or “Vampire.” This book was my first introduction to the serial killer, and now I’m scrambling to learn everything abut the case. My two favorite genres are true crime and memoirs, and this book exceeded all expectations on both fronts. Told as a dual perspective between a young girl growing up on Cape Cod with a difficult mother and secrets of her own, but also following along with Tony, a young man newly married with many demons. I was enamored with this story from the very first pages and couldn’t put it down. It’s written so smartly, and keeps you engaged with every page as you clean motel rooms with Liza, jump in a truck with “Tony the handy man” to head to the dump, and dive deep into the life of a horrific serial killer. If memoirs aren’t exactly your favorite genre but you devour true crime, you won’t be disappointed. The book tells of the graphic crimes of a seriously deranged man. This isn’t written for those who don’t want to know details, as every single one is described to the letter. There is also graphic sexual violence and drug use. This will be a true crime novel I recommend to anyone interested in the subject. Informative but not written dry or like a text book in any capacity. I applaud both writers for diving deep into secrets and sharing so much with the audience.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Darcia Helle

    Can you imagine finding out you’d spent a good portion of your childhood being babysat by a serial killer? This book is true crime, but it’s also a memoir and a cautionary tale. Told in alternating chapters between Liza Rodman’s childhood memories and Jennifer Jordan’s research, we see Tony Costa, a serial killer active on Cape Cod during the late sixties, up close and personal in ways not often seen in true crime books. In heartbreaking detail, Liza shares memories of her childhood with an indif Can you imagine finding out you’d spent a good portion of your childhood being babysat by a serial killer? This book is true crime, but it’s also a memoir and a cautionary tale. Told in alternating chapters between Liza Rodman’s childhood memories and Jennifer Jordan’s research, we see Tony Costa, a serial killer active on Cape Cod during the late sixties, up close and personal in ways not often seen in true crime books. In heartbreaking detail, Liza shares memories of her childhood with an indifferent parent and a rotating cast of babysitters who were often strangers and, in one case, a sociopathic serial killer. I wanted to reach back in time and shake Liza’s mother, a woman who put her own fun ahead of her two young daughters’ safety, leaving them with an adult male she barely knew. Both Liza and Jennifer have engaging writing styles, planting us right there on Cape Cod with a man who killed young women while spiraling out of control. This book is nonfiction that reads like a suspense/thriller novel. We’re voyeurs of a tragedy made all the more horrifying by hindsight. *I received a review copy via Goodreads and Atria Books.*

  24. 5 out of 5

    oohlalabooks

    The Babysitter is part memoir and part crime investigation based on Liza Rodman’s interactions with Tony Costa, her babysitter, during the summers in Providencetown, MA. The chapters are short and it changes from Liza to Tony throughout the book. Liza and her sister Louisa were raised by their single mom, Betty. They moved around a lot, Betty taking jobs wherever she can find them eventually she gets a housekeeping job at her girlfriend’s hotel in Providencetown. Betty has such hatred for her el The Babysitter is part memoir and part crime investigation based on Liza Rodman’s interactions with Tony Costa, her babysitter, during the summers in Providencetown, MA. The chapters are short and it changes from Liza to Tony throughout the book. Liza and her sister Louisa were raised by their single mom, Betty. They moved around a lot, Betty taking jobs wherever she can find them eventually she gets a housekeeping job at her girlfriend’s hotel in Providencetown. Betty has such hatred for her eldest daughter Liza that it was heartbreaking to read, her actions and words made me cringe every time that I looked forward to reading Tony’s chapters. Liza was seven years old when she was introduced to Tony by his mom Cecelia, whom Liza thought of as a second mom. Tony began working at the hotel helping with handyman stuff and taking Liza and Louisa along on errands. Tony’s upbringing was better because of his doting mom Cecelia, but there are traumatic incidents that may have fueled his killings. He’s a married man with three kids, but he was never around for his family. Everyone thought it odd that an adult would hang out with teenagers, but the teenagers idolized him even young Liza. The book read more like a story, it’s well researched, and not graphic in nature though suspenseful. Thank you to Atria, Edelweiss, and the authors for a gifted copy. This is my honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Luana Filgueiras

    review coming tomorrow!

  26. 4 out of 5

    BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books)

    I really enjoyed that this book was a mixture of fictional thriller AND true crime! I loved the factual elements combined with the authors' imaginative story to make a view of this serial killer that you can't stop reading about. It's a book that grabs you from the start and draws you in. There is a lot of source material to refer to, which helps flesh out the true-crime part of this story. Overall, this was a great story that was filled with twists and turns, and I really enjoyed it! I was provid I really enjoyed that this book was a mixture of fictional thriller AND true crime! I loved the factual elements combined with the authors' imaginative story to make a view of this serial killer that you can't stop reading about. It's a book that grabs you from the start and draws you in. There is a lot of source material to refer to, which helps flesh out the true-crime part of this story. Overall, this was a great story that was filled with twists and turns, and I really enjoyed it! I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    To say that Liza and her sister Louisa had a dysfunctional upbringing is putting it mildly. Their parents divorced when they were young and their mom was a real party girl. She liked to drink and date anyone who would pay any attention to her and she frequently ignored her daughters. She was mean to Liza and it was very apparent that she preferred Louisa. When they went to the Provincetown in the summers for her mom to make extra money working at her aunt's motel, she frequently went out and lef To say that Liza and her sister Louisa had a dysfunctional upbringing is putting it mildly. Their parents divorced when they were young and their mom was a real party girl. She liked to drink and date anyone who would pay any attention to her and she frequently ignored her daughters. She was mean to Liza and it was very apparent that she preferred Louisa. When they went to the Provincetown in the summers for her mom to make extra money working at her aunt's motel, she frequently went out and left her daughters with anyone she could find. One of the people that babysat the girls was Tony Costa, the handyman at the motel. Her quickly became a favorite of the Liza's - he frequently took the girls along on his drives and bought them ice cream. Liza thought that he was one of the few kind adults in her life and she loved to spend time with him. As we are learning about the nice Tony, the alternate chapters show the real Tony - a cruel and confused man who was a serial killer! She didn't realize until years later that the Tony she had such wonderful memories about was also the Tony who killed and dismembered his victims and buried them in the same place in the woods where he often took Liza and Louise. The way this story is written makes it a fantastic read. In alternating chapters, the reader sees the way that Liza is treated and how she tries to protect herself and take care of her sister. The other chapters are Tony's story - the way he was raised, his first marriage and all of the negative parts of his life that lead him to his life of crime. He was a despicable person but he always treated Liza well. Thanks to goodreads for a copy of this book to read and review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mary Reagan Richardson (prescribedreads)

    The Babysitter tells the story of Liza and Tony Costa. The story focuses on Liza as she grows up spending her summers on the Cape and being left with anyone that will watch her and her sister Louisa while her mother goes out. The story also follows Tony Costa as he maneuvers through life on the Cape with a wife, 3 children, a drug problem, and many other haunting secrets. I was amazed by how easy this book was to read. It was part memoir, part true crime and it worked beautifully. I was so heart The Babysitter tells the story of Liza and Tony Costa. The story focuses on Liza as she grows up spending her summers on the Cape and being left with anyone that will watch her and her sister Louisa while her mother goes out. The story also follows Tony Costa as he maneuvers through life on the Cape with a wife, 3 children, a drug problem, and many other haunting secrets. I was amazed by how easy this book was to read. It was part memoir, part true crime and it worked beautifully. I was so heartbroken for Liza as a child and the hardships she went through for no fault of her own. She just wanted someone there for her and, sadly, that was found in a serial killer. The story had amazing pace and never dwelt too much on too many details. The descriptions were top notch. This has quickly become one of my favorite true crime books and, I promise, that is saying something. 5 stars all day long.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    As I read this true-crime novel by Liza Rodman I continually shook my head, amazed that she even survived her youth. Not only was one of her favorite neighbors an actual serial killer, but her mother also left her alone with just about anyone so she could in order to go out and party. Liza and her sister had a fun and colorful childhood spending their summers in Cape Cod, usually living in the hotel her mom was employed by. The colorful stories of her mother and her boyfriends, the eccentric nei As I read this true-crime novel by Liza Rodman I continually shook my head, amazed that she even survived her youth. Not only was one of her favorite neighbors an actual serial killer, but her mother also left her alone with just about anyone so she could in order to go out and party. Liza and her sister had a fun and colorful childhood spending their summers in Cape Cod, usually living in the hotel her mom was employed by. The colorful stories of her mother and her boyfriends, the eccentric neighbors, and mainly the nice and handsome handyman Tony gloss over the sad but glaring fact that Liza was left alone way too often with a psychopath. He would take her and her sister to the woods to see his secret garden, which in time turned out to be the burial plots for numerous murdered and dismembered young women. The personalities of the key characters- Tony, his wife, Liza’s mom, and Liza herself will keep you reading. Common sense tells us Liza lives because she wrote this book but as close as she came to danger made me want to keep reading just to confirm that she did indeed survive. This is a well-researched true crime with a heavy dose of crappy parenting sprinkled in. I salute Liza for surviving and for having the light and carefree attitude she displays in her narration. Thanks to NetGalley and Atria for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The release date is March 2, 2021.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Thank you to the publisher for the eARC of this book via NetGalley. .... Meet Liza. She is a young, lonely girl growing up in Cape Cod. While her mom was busy working Liza and her sister would entertain themselves throughout the day and met a young man by the name of Tony. Tony befriended the girls and would often babysit the girls and hang out with them, taking them out and doing fun things with them. Finally an end to their boredom and he was someone they could hang around with and do fun and co Thank you to the publisher for the eARC of this book via NetGalley. .... Meet Liza. She is a young, lonely girl growing up in Cape Cod. While her mom was busy working Liza and her sister would entertain themselves throughout the day and met a young man by the name of Tony. Tony befriended the girls and would often babysit the girls and hang out with them, taking them out and doing fun things with them. Finally an end to their boredom and he was someone they could hang around with and do fun and cool things with. Tony suddenly disappeared when Liza was 10, back in 1969. Jump ahead many years later and Liza finds herself having nightmares of Tony, the man she met when she was younger and looked up to so much. She hasn't seen Tony since she was a child. Turns out that Tony was a serial killer. Hard to believe that a man she had so much fun with and someone she admired could turn out to be a serial killer. Parts of the novel delved into Tony's life, both as a young boy where he enjoyed taxidermy and killing and gutting young animals, to Tony as an adult, getting married and having children. It gives us a sense of Tony's character and some insight to how he might have turned out to be the man he was. An interesting memoir that is sure to be enjoyed by many.

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