cover image Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod

Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod

Casey Sherman. Sourcebooks, $26.99 (464p) ISBN 978-1-7282-4595-9

Made-up scenes do little to enhance this workmanlike account of the case of Tony Costa, a murderer who targeted women on Cape Cod in the late 1960s, from bestseller Sherman (Hunting Whitey: The Inside Story of the Capture and Killing of America’s Most Wanted Crime Boss). Costa, a 20-something carpenter who may have killed as many as eight women around Truro, Mass., became a suspect following the disappearances of Patricia Walsh and Mary Anne Wysocki. He was seen in public with both women, and he told implausible stories about how he came to own Walsh’s Volkswagen. Dogged police investigation eventually led to the discovery of Walsh and Wysocki’s dismembered remains in the woods, along with those of other women who’d gone missing, though Costa was convicted of only the two murders. Sherman presents numerous scenes of Costa conversing with an alternate personality called Cory, who Costa claimed was responsible for all the bloodshed, and relates Costa’s final thoughts before hanging himself in his prison cell. (In an author’s note, Sherman describes the book as “a work of fact told with elements of fiction storytelling.”) Endemic speculative sections such as these make this a miss for those who prefer their true crime to stick to the facts. Agent: Peter Steinberg, Fletcher & Co. (July)