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‘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
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.
Near Rochester – a region which has spawned such serial killers as Arthur Shawcross and the ‘Double Initial’ killer – Stephanie’s disappearance was just another news item. But Rachel had more reason than most to be haunted by this particular story of a missing white 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 dark and serpentine path, across more than two decades, to try to solve the case. 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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