Catherine Ryan Howard
Release: 5th May 2016
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
"The day Adam Dunne's girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads 'I'm sorry - S' sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.
Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate - and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before.
To get the answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground..."
Distress Signals is a stunner of a crime debut! I was sucked into this book from the opening chapter and it had me absolutely transfixed throughout.
The book follows Adam Dunne a struggling artist who dreams of a career in screenwriting. The last few years have been hard for Adam but his long-term girlfriend Sarah has stood by his side and supported him throughout. Finally, Adam is given his big break in America and he’s looking forward to a fresh start.
However Adam’s happiness is short-lived when Sarah doesn’t return home after a brief business trip abroad. It turns out that Sarah has been having an affair and leading a double life and all signs suggest that she has left him to be with her lover which Adam struggles to believe – it just doesn’t sound like the Sarah he knows.
When Adam is sent Sarah’s passport and a note that reads “I’m Sorry - S” in Sarah’s handwriting he goes on a mission to find her. Adam’s search leads him to a cruise ship called the Celebrate and to a mystery surrounding a woman who went missing in eerily similar circumstances a year before. Did Sarah leave or was she taken? As Adam boards the Celebrate he begins a dangerous journey to find out.
What fascinated me about Distress Signals was the unique cruise ship setting. You imagine a cruise ship as being a place of fun and relaxation but add in a disappearance and it suddenly feels very claustrophobic and scary. The Celebrate sounded incredibly corrupt and like the perfect place to commit a crime and get away with it. Distress Signals is a perfect read for the summer but it’s definitely not one to take on a cruise- this book has put me off them for life!
This books pacing is excellent with so many twists and turns that change the course of the story and in turn keeps you turning the pages effortlessly - I read this book at breakneck speed! I did unfortunately guess some of the revelations towards the end of the book but that’s quite common for me and there were a lot of surprises that I didn’t see coming at all.
Overall Distress Signals is unique, clever and incredibly well written. It’s definitely one of the standout thrillers of 2016. Catherine Ryan Howard is a major new crime fiction talent and breathes new life into an overcrowded genre.