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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.
Immersive, unflinching, and shocking, Helltown is a landmark true crime narrative that transports us back to the turbulent late 1960s, reveals the secrets of a notorious serial killer, and unspools the threads connecting Costa, Vonnegut, and Mailer in the seaside city that played host to horrors unlike any ever seen before. New York Times bestselling author Casey Sherman has crafted a stunner.
Casey Sherman is a renowned investigative journalist and New York Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal best-selling author of fifteen books including The Finest Hours (now a major Walt Disney motion picture starring Chris Pine), Patriots Day (now a major motion picture starring Mark Wahlberg), Hunting Whitey, James Patterson's The Last Days of John Lennon, 12: The Inside Story of Tom Brady's Fight for Redemption, Search for the Strangler, and Animal: The Bloody Rise and Fall of the Mob's Most Feared Assassin. Sherman is a contributing writer for TIME, Esquire, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast and Boston Magazine. He is a recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award for Journalistic Excellence and has appeared as a guest analyst on more than 100 television news programs.
Moderator Dr. Ann Wolbert Burgess, DNSc., APRN, is a leading forensic and psychiatric nurse who worked with the FBI for over two decades. She is currently a professor at the Boston College Connell School of Nursing, and she lives in Boston, MA.