Catch the Sparrow: A Search for a Sister and the Truth of her Murder

by Rachel Rear


Synopsis: 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 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.


My thoughts: This was a good true crime biography about a woman investigating her own step-sister’s disappearance. There were many suspects in this cold case by the time the author was deep into the many files the police and others had given her. She interviewed everyone that she could find from Stephanie’s life that would agree to talk with her. Many thought that she looked like the sister or a twin of the murdered young woman she had never gotten to meet. Very haunting and stays with you, like it did in so many who knew Stephanie or investigated the case. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


Catch the Sparrow


Publisher: Bloomberg Publishing – 256 pages

Publication: Date: Feb 1st, 2022

My rating: 4/5 STARS


Rachel Rear

About the author: Rachel Rear is a writer, teacher, actor, and sometime aerialist living in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA at Rutgers University, her MA at Teachers College, Columbia University, and her MFA at The New School. She has been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Crab Creek Review, Off The Coast Poetry Journal, and Ducts Webzine. She also hangs around Circus Warehouse in Queens, NY. Her first book, a true crime/memoir, will be published in February 2022 by Bloomsbury Publishing and Sphere UK.  Follow her on Twitter @RaeRear.​


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