HellTown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod by Casey Sherman

Published: July 12, 2022


Pages: 464

Genre: True Crime Non-Fiction

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Casey Sherman is a New York Times Bestselling Author of 13 books, including The Finest Hours, Boston Strong, Animal & Hunting Whitey. Casey Sherman is also the author of 12, Search for the Strangler, Animal, Bad Blood, Black Irish, Black Dragon, Above & Beyond, and The Ice Bucket Challenge. Casey Sherman is a graduate of Barnstable High School (Cape Cod), Fryeburg Academy (Fryeburg, Me.), and Boston University.

Before Charles Manson, there was Tony Costa―the serial killer of Cape Cod
1969: The hippie scene is vibrant in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Long-haired teenagers roam the streets, strumming guitars and preaching about peace and love… and Tony Costa is at the center of it all. To a certain group of smitten young women, he is known as Sire―the leader of their counter-culture movement, the charming man who speaks eloquently and hands out hallucinogenic drugs like candy. But beneath his benign persona lies a twisted and uncontrollable rage that threatens to break loose at any moment. Tony Costa is the most dangerous man on Cape Cod, and no one who crosses his path is safe.
When young women begin to disappear, Costa’s natural charisma and good looks initially protect him from suspicion. But as the bodies are discovered, the police close in on him as the key suspect. Meanwhile, local writers Kurt Vonnegut and Norman Mailer are locked in a desperate race to secure their legacies as great literary icons―and they both set their sights on Tony Costa and the drug-soaked hippie culture that he embodies as their next promising subject, launching independent investigations that stoke the competitive fires between two of the greatest American writers.

“And our search is only beginning.”

Tony Costa is the cause of nightmares in his hometown, still to this day. His actions and the spectacle he caused have left a dark mark. Yet, many may not know what Tony Costa did. This is his story.

This was written in a fictionalized style yet based on facts. While certain elements may have been rearranged to serve the storytelling, the contents of this novel are accurate.

There was a lot to unpack in this book. This was like three books thrown into one with how the narrative jumped around. It reminded me of In Cold Blood, which I did not enjoy.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but this was different from any other true crime novel I have read. The fictionalized method of telling the story was interesting but left much room for interpretation and opinion.

The thing I enjoy about true crime is the facts. I enjoy following the evidence and getting the play-by-play of what happened. This was more sensationalized than that.

Tony Costa was a monster, who committed atrocities against women. I do wish the story had focused more on him, and less on the fire between Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut.

There were times throughout this novel I wasn’t sure what I was reading. The writing was good, and the facts and research were there. But this isn’t a novel I will recommend.

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