Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

About This Book…

Did she leave, or was she taken?

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…

My Review…

I was so glad that I didn’t go on a cruise for my summer holidays this year after reading Distress Signals! Lounging by a hotel pool seemed a much better idea especially after watching a few programmes recently about cruise liners-i really had absolutely no idea how big they really were! It was also a shock to find out just how much goes on behind the scenes of a big and successful cruise ship. And here Catherine Ryan Howard has created a complex mystery based around what has become a very popular holiday for all ages in recent years.

Adam Dunne has been with his girlfriend for nearly 10 years. He has been trying to make it as a scriptwriter and is actually on the brink of his big breakthrough. All it needs is a rewrite, his agent is on his case, and a large cheque will be deposited in his bank account. His dreams will have come true! But what about his dependable girlfriend Sarah? Her job means that she is off to Barcelona for a few days. Adam isn’t worried when she isn’t in contact much, it’s work and she will be busy. But when he goes to collect her from the airport, she isn’t there and seems to have disappeared into thin air. Adam won’t leave any stone unturned until he finds out what has happened to her and the trail leads him to a large cruise liner…the Celebrate.

I really loved Adam!!! He was just your typical Mr Dependable, stuck in his social routine, not reading any of the signs that were pretty obvious when he looked back on them. He thinks the money he makes will solve all his problems and he and Sarah will live happily ever after. But a different Adam emerges when Sarah goes missing and he physically can’t rest until he finds out what happens to her.

The author has really done a brilliant job of creating a storyline here that is based on factual accounts of things that have happened on cruise liners. I found it absolutely fascinating especially how maritime law works which seems a rather bizarre way of solving crimes that happen at sea. It really was an ingenious way to involve her characters into the plot, which was a twisty journey to find out what had happened not just to Sarah but also others who had disappeared under mysterious circumstances. I was totally behind Adam all the way even though the prologue shows us a side of him that doesn’t seem to tie with the person we meet at the beginning. The three viewpoints keep us guessing how all the threads of the story will come together and I have to admit that I thought I knew where this was going BUT I wasn’t as clever as I thought I was!

This is a great debut from an author who really seems to have an in-depth understanding of today’s traveller and I thought it was thoroughly well researched so that the plot flowed with ease. The pace never flagged and I was totally caught up in the plight of Adam as he searched to find out the truth.

Highly recommended!

Distress Signals: An Incredibly Gripping Psychological Thriller with a Twist You Won’t See Coming is available here to buy at Amazon UK

About The Author…

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1982.

Her debut thriller, DISTRESS SIGNALS, is published in the UK and Ireland by Corvus/Atlantic and in Australia and New Zealand by Allen & Unwin, and will be published in North America by Blackstone in November 2016. DISTRESS SIGNALS was a bestseller in Ireland upon its debut and was optioned for TV prior to publication by Jet Stone Media.

Before writing full-time, she was a campsite courier in France, a travel administrator in the Netherlands and a front desk agent at a hotel in Walt Disney World, Florida. She is currently studying English at Trinity College Dublin and wants to be a NASA astronaut when she grows up.

Find out more about Catherine on catherineryanhoward.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cathryanhoward.



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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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