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. He bought them popsicles and together, they visited his "secret garden" in the Truro woods. To Liza, he was one of the few kind and understanding adults in her life. Everyone thought he was just a 'great guy.' But there was one thing she didn't know; their babysitter was a serial killer. Liza Rodman 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.
The Babysitter is a captivating book that examines its setting as much as its characters. Rodman and Jordan go further in their research than anyone else has done on the Costa case and have located women whom Costa was believed to have killed decades ago. The story is gripping, tense, harrowing and balanced with a careful and thoughtful narrative style. The authors move it beyond mere entertainment and toward a challenging exploration of family and dysfunction. In the end, this is a story of Liza Rodman’s survival and strength. The Babysitter is a unique and welcome addition to both the true crime and memoir genres.
For a book about vulnerable children—a topic that usually tugs the heartstrings—the narrative is not as affecting as one would expect ... The two threads alternate in a briskly written text that isn’t for the faint of heart ... Yet the story is curiously lacking in drama, in part because the book doesn’t reveal the author to have been in serious danger of harm from Costa ... The most noteworthy material appears in an epilogue, where, after excellent detective work, Jordan and Rodman establish conclusively that Costa did not kill three women he was suspected of murdering—a payoff that for followers of the case may be worth the 300-page wait. A grisly but low-impact tale of horrific crimes and their impact on the author.