Title: The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer
Author: Liza Rodman, Jennifer Jordan
Genre: True Crime
Narrators: Andi Arndt, Aida Reluzco
Length: 9 hours (352 pages)
Publisher: Atria Books; Simon & Schuster Audio
Release Date: March 2, 2021
Recommended for fans of: true crime books & podcasts
Content Warnings: murder, sexual assault, toxic relationships
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.
This book is part true crime, part memoir as Liza recounts her childhood and experiences with her sometimes babysitter Tony Costa, who turned out to be the serial killer known as “The Cape Cod Vampire.” Chapters alternate between traditional true crime explanations of Costa’s background and crimes and Liza’s reflections on her upbringing and toxic relationship with her mother.
While both storylines were interesting, the book felt a bit disjointed. Liza shared some memories of time she spent with Costa that are chilling in hindsight, but overall there was not as much overlap between the two narratives as I expected.