cover image The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer

The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer

Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan. Atria, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-9821-2947-7

Rodman debuts with an engrossing memoir that focuses on her relationship with serial killer Tony Costa (aka the Cape Cod Cannibal). As children in the late 1960s, Rodman and her little sister spent summers in Provincetown, Mass., where her mother worked at a motel. A promiscuous alcoholic, the mother would fob her two children off on any willing adult so she could bar hop. One of them was handyman Tony, whom Rodman remembers as a kind man who would take Rodman and her sister along with him on errands he was doing around the Cape. In 1969, the police arrested Costa; he was convicted of two murders and sentenced to life in prison, where he killed himself in 1974. Only in 2005, when Rodman confronted her mother about what happened to Costa, did she learn to her shock that he was a drug-addled pervert and serial killer who dismembered his female victims and buried them in the woods. The authors smoothly blend Rodman’s affecting account of her childhood with thorough research into Costa’s crimes. This tragic tale of a dysfunctional family and a psychopath is a page-turner. Agent: Jill Kneerim, Kneerim & Williams. (Mar.)