Sphere to publish true crime exploring murder of author's stepsister

Sphere to publish true crime exploring murder of author's stepsister

Sphere has acquired a book in which the author tells the story of her own investigation into the long-unsolved murder of her stepsister. 

Editorial director Rhiannon Smith acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in Chained to the Sky by Rachel Rear from Peggy Boulos Smith at Writer’s House on behalf of Dan Conaway.

Stephanie, the author's stepsister, disappeared when Rear was a teenager, but it would be seven years before her body was found. 

In the book, according to Sphere, Rear delivers a "moving" reconstruction of the "dark, serpentine path" of looking into the long-unsolved murder, combining "compulsive narrative" with the reality of the personal impact of living in her stepsister’s shadow. 

Rear is a writer, teacher, actor, and sometime aerialist living in Brooklyn. Her writing has been widely published, including in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Huffington Post, but Chained to the Sky is her first book.

Sphere will publish simultaneously with US, where Daniel Loedel at Bloomsbury pre-empted the book as a lead title for its list in 2022.

Smith said: "All of us were captivated by Rachel Rear’s brilliant writing and the heartbreaking nature of this story. In the same way that I’ll be Gone in the Dark and The Fact of a Body appealed across the Atlantic, so too will Rachel’s impressive first book. It’s one I’m proud to be publishing here."

Rear said: "I was so pleased with Rhiannon Smith’s response to my project, and I’m thrilled to be joining the esteemed roster of writers at Sphere."

Sphere will publish in print, e-book and audio in Spring 2022.