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Helltown

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley and Casey Sherman for the copy of Helltown. This is a fascinating but sad story of a serial killer in Cape Cod and how he did it and how he was caught.

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I don't particularly love when an author creates dialog and internal narration for real life people, especially those who are no longer around. I understand why, but it just doesn't sit right with me. I've read Sherman's other book A Murder in Hollywood and I didn't notice it as much and wasn't as bothered by what was there, this felt like a fictionalized version of events because it happened so much.

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I was not able to finish this book. It just didn’t catch my interest and I couldn’t get on board. Maybe I will try it again??

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I have read widely on serial killer Tony Costa because of my ties to Cape Cod. Casey Sherman presents a glimpse into Tony’s perspective and experience. Through sometimes graphic details the life & murders of Tony Costa are explored and the reader is drawn into his dark world. A great edge of your seat read when you’re craving some gripping true crime. Thanks to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest review..

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In Helltown, Case Sherman delivers a chilling and immersive exploration of one of America's lesser-known serial killers, Tony Costa, whose reign of terror cast a shadow over the idyllic landscape of Cape Cod during the tumultuous late 1960s. Blending true crime with literary intrigue, Sherman crafts a narrative that is as compelling as it is haunting.

Set against the backdrop of the vibrant hippie scene in Provincetown, Massachusetts, Helltown paints a vivid portrait of a community caught in the grip of countercultural fervor and escalating violence. At the center of it all is Tony Costa, known to his adoring followers as "Sire," whose charismatic facade belies a dark and twisted reality.

Sherman deftly weaves together multiple narrative threads, seamlessly shifting between Costa's descent into madness and the parallel investigations of literary icons Kurt Vonnegut and Norman Mailer. As bodies pile up and the police close in on their prime suspect, Vonnegut and Mailer find themselves embroiled in a desperate race to capture the essence of Costa and the turbulent era he embodies.

What sets Helltown apart is its unflinching portrayal of the era and the individuals who inhabited it. Sherman pulls no punches in depicting the brutality of Costa's crimes or the moral ambiguity of Vonnegut and Mailer's pursuit of literary fame. The result is a narrative that is as thought-provoking as it is harrowing, forcing readers to confront uncomfortable truths about the nature of violence and the allure of celebrity.

Sherman's prose is sharp and evocative, transporting readers back in time to a world where peace and love coexist uneasily with darkness and despair. From the sun-drenched streets of Provincetown to the smoke-filled cafes of New York City, the novel is infused with a sense of place that is both immersive and atmospheric.

In Helltown, Case Sherman has crafted a true crime narrative that is as compelling as it is unforgettable. With its blend of historical detail, literary intrigue, and unrelenting suspense, this is a book that will linger in the minds of readers long after the final page is turned. For fans of true crime and literary fiction alike, Helltown is a must-read masterpiece.

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"Helltown" is a non-fiction book by Casey Sherman. It chronicles the true story of the Boston Strangler murders in the 1960s and the subsequent investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of Albert DeSalvo. Sherman provides a detailed account of the crimes, the victims, and the impact on the city of Boston, as well as the efforts of law enforcement to solve the case. With its gripping narrative and thorough research, "Helltown" offers a chilling and insightful exploration of one of the most notorious crime sprees in American history

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This is a hard pass for me. The author tried to do internal dialogue for both victim and killer. I HATE when authors do that - there is no possible way to know what anyone was thinking, especially not the victims! Nope, not for me. DNF @ 25%

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I ultimately had to DNF this true crime novel. It was filled with too much gore for my taste and also felt very slow. For whatever reason, it could not hold my focus and I had little desire to want to pick it up and read it. This might work for other readers, sadly it just wasn't for me. I appreciate the opportunity to be given this arc.

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I read another copy of this book and did not like it. Was very hard to make mysef finish

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A very interesting true crime book. I had never heard of Tony Costa as many others. This was a well written book that kept the reader interested and reading until the end.

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Fantastic story of a crime in New England that had ties across the country.Put this one at the top of your TBR

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I love a good fiction that’s based off of nonfiction events. Suspense, thrill and just enough fiction to make it easy to read

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I’m sorry but the fact that this author tried to do inner dialogue for both the killer and the victim is disgusting. Also don’t get my started on the random use of Kurt Vonnegut and his daughter??

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Very long book, very graphic and all the authors and their parts just seemed excessive. True crime is one of my favorite genres, but this book took me a long time to finish and I just didn’t love how it dragged on. I think the events and storyline flowed nicely; just a lot of detail.

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𝐇𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐭𝐨𝐰𝐧: 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑈𝑛𝑡𝑜𝑙𝑑 𝑆𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑎 𝑆𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝐾𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑟 𝑜𝑛 𝐶𝑎𝑝𝑒 𝐶𝑜𝑑
𝐁𝐲: 𝐂𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐲 𝐒𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐧
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

This book is true crime meets narrative story telling with some sprinkling of fiction and a dash of imagination. It’s hard to believe that this is actually a true crime story. I think that it helps that the author took some liberties with dialogue and interactions, but at the end of the day, this is a terrifying true story. If you’re a true crime aficionado, you’ll need to add this book to your TBR.

In reading other reviews, it seems like readers didn’t like the tangents into Vonnegut, Mailer, Manson and Chappaquiddick. I’ll go to the minority here because I thought it was great and added another layer to the story telling. While the author may have taken some liberties. I would encourage you to make sure you read the last chapter of the book where Sherman ties everything together.

Thank you to NetGalley, sourcebooks and the author for the opportunity to read this ARC.

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I love a true crime read, this one was perfect, I won’t say I read it at night it was really gruesome at times, lol, there were parts in the book that dragged like adding the two authors who set their eyes on the killer, it’s crazy how we are able to read into the minds of Costa it was a crazy ride.

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I enjoyed reading the crime and investigative parts of the book. It was an interesting story to learn about. I kind of enjoyed the way the author rooted the story in that time period and wrote about other things going on in the late sixties/early seventies. And I didn’t mind the creative liberties the author took, I think it helped the book’s flow and kept me reading.

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This was a very difficult book to pick up and read. I knew it would obviously have some gruesome and horrific parts, it did indeed.
This is a nonfiction book about Antone "Tony" Costa. Costa was a hippie in 1969 living in the Cape Cod area. His reputation as a drug user and dealer as well as a narc to the police precedes him as the serial killer we discover him to be. The details in this book are very disturbing and gory. It is also very long so we not hear of these gruesome acts once, but several times as we see it through his eyes, liberties taken by the author, and we hear about it in the court trial. While I liked the fictional parts of being inside Costa's thoughts, it also took me out of the facts for a bit. It made it more interesting to read but removes some truth.
One thing that I really found interesting is the historical times that the country was going through at the time which really enriched this story. For instance I learned more about Kurt Vonnegut and Norman Mailer, and I did not know they were in this area at this time. I also didn't make the connection that this was taking place at the same time as the Kennedy news about Bobby Kennedy and the car that had the girl in it. There are details about the hippies of the time and the witch coven's that were active. We also jump to the opposite side of the country to hear about Charles Manson and that nightmare taking place. What a horrific time to be alive. It also would make finding missing girls hard to do, and the suspects many.
Overall, I feel like I took a lot of added information away from this read. It was very sad and disturbing and not fun to read some of those details. That being said, it did make the book much longer than necessary and more drug out.

Thank you to Netgalley and Source books for the e-arc of this book. This is my honest review.

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Thank you to Netgalley for this ARC. However, my honest review is going to be just that. It has been a long time since I have read a book that I really did not like. Unfortunately I hated this book. It was absurdly long and had a ton of what felt to me like useless information. So much of it felt dramatized. Having read a lot of true crime books I understand taking some liberty with things but this was too much. I found myself skimming the parts with Vonnegut and Mailer. Again this book was long and so much felt totally unnecessary when reading about Tony Costa. That was the part that interested and there were so many times where the book got completely away from that. Also the totally unnecessary mutilation of a cat completely turned me off from this book and I essentially skimmed to the end. I know more about Tony Costa now but I could have just looked a lot of it up myself. While I am grateful for the copy to read, this book was not for me.

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A Massive Thank You to the Author, the Publisher and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read and review this book prior to its release date.

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