Catch the Sparrow: Book summary and reviews of Catch the Sparrow by Rachel Rear

Catch the Sparrow

A Search for a Sister and the Truth of Her Murder

by Rachel Rear

Catch the Sparrow by Rachel Rear X
Catch the Sparrow by Rachel Rear
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  • Published Feb 2022
    256 pages
    Genre: True Crime

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Book Summary

The gripping story of a young woman's murder, unsolved for over two decades, brilliantly investigated and reconstructed by her stepsister.

Growing up, Rachel Rear knew the story of Stephanie Kupchynsky's disappearance. The beautiful violinist and teacher had fled an abusive relationship on Martha's Vineyard and made a new start for herself near Rochester, NY. She was at the height of her life-in a relationship with a man she hoped to marry and close to her students and her family. And then, one morning, she was gone.

Around Rochester-a region which has spawned such serial killers as Arthur Shawcross and the "Double Initial" killer-Stephanie's disappearance was just a familiar sort of news item. But Rachel had more reason than most to be haunted by this particular story of a missing woman: Rachel's mother had married Stephanie's father after the crime, and Rachel grew up in the shadow of her stepsister's legacy.

In Catch the Sparrow, Rachel Rear writes a compulsively readable and unerringly poignant reconstruction of the case's dark and serpentine path across more than two decades. Obsessively cataloging the crime and its costs, drawing intimately closer to the details than any journalist could, she reveals how a dysfunctional justice system laid the groundwork for Stephanie's murder and stymied the investigation for more than twenty years, and what those hard years meant for the lives of Stephanie's family and loved ones. Startling, unputdownable, and deeply moving, Catch the Sparrow is a retelling of a crime like no other.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Rear debuts with an engrossing account of her search for the truth about her stepsister's murder...Rear's personal connection to the case, and resonances between her own experiences of being victimized by men...give this account a hefty emotional impact. This combination of true crime inquiry and revelatory memoir will linger in readers' minds long after they finish it." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[C]ompellingly suspenseful reading...[T]he book's greatest strength by far is the way it evokes the 'fragility of [human] existence' while reminding readers of the terrifying and random violence to which women continue to be subjected, both at home and in the world. A chillingly candid memoir and work of true crime." - Kirkus Reviews

"Rear's work is both thoroughly researched and deeply intimate...An insightful, moving tribute that will resonate with readers who appreciate a blend of true crime and memoir, such as Ellen McGarrahan's Two Truths and a Lie." - Library Journal

"The mystery of someone's disappearance or death compels people to find answers. Here, Rear methodically unravels the death of her stepsister, Stephanie...readers will appreciate the detail and care Rear takes to reach the culmination of the case." - Booklist

"Catch the Sparrow is true crime at its most personal and purposeful--heartfelt and intimate, noble and determined, meticulous and brave." - Robert Kolker, New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Valley Road and Lost Girls

"Catch the Sparrow is a one-of-a-kind true crime narrative, meticulously reported and compellingly written. The real twist in Rachel Rear's pursuit of this cold case murder is the stunning relationship of the teller to the tale. No novelist could have invented it." - Jonathan Dee, author of The Locals and The Privileges

This information about Catch the Sparrow was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Rachel Rear

Rachel Rear, a New York City public school teacher and actor, holds an MA from Columbia University and an MFA from the New School. She has been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and numerous other publications.

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