Friday, November 11, 2016

Review - Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Published - May, 2016

Book Summary

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 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 4 1/2 stars

It was a long wait for Distress Signals but worth it.  Someone had an ARC and it was on their Top List of 2015, then I read a review earlier this year but it wasn't available on Kindle.  Thank you NetGalley, I did a search, it was available and my request was accepted, excited.

This is definitely not the vacation read while on a cruise, you could definitely become paranoid.  Adam and Sarah are comfortable in their 10 year relationship, he is waiting for his book deal to come through to give Sarah the world, but is it to late. He drops her off to the airport as she is going on a work trip, the 1st lie that comes to light.

Adam refuses to believe his girlfriend would disappear, choose to leave her life, her parents and him. He liaises with the police and they won't accept the missing person request as she is an adult and adults decide to leave, the statistics speak.  I enjoyed the police interactions with Adam, it was traumatic, astonishing and at times laughable.

"Oh, Jesus Christ."  In my peripheral vision, I could see Garda Cherub's head snap up from his sports pages.  "What the hell do you need to believe that something is going on here, Cusack?  What will it take?  Seriously, tell me.  Bloodstained clothes?  Video footage?  A dead body?"  Kindle 47%

During Adam's investigation there is another story line that is completely different and does not connect until the end of the story.  Romain doesn't feel loved by his mom but does everything to make her happy but there is always darkness around Romain that ends badly.  He is taken away when he is only 9 and starts a new life at 18, where does his new life take him?

His personality had always been a string of learned behaviors, each one discovered, studied, and acquired quite consciously, many of them during Tanner's treatment - a repertoire of reactions he could pull out and display as needed.  86%

At first you can't think why these stories are combined and they are so different they do not distract from each others story line but begin to make you think from a mysterious mind on whodunit.  This is not a spoiler, it is not that easy, the ending is not obvious, the story lines are very well done.

You don't hear about cruise ship crimes but when Adam Googled them, he couldn't believe how many had occurred and he wouldn't accept his girlfriend could possibly be dead.  If she was, he would find her murderer but what next when he does.

What a great executed book, I really enjoyed this one.  You don't want to read while on a cruise though.  International waters may mean the crimes go unnoticed and no investigation due to Maritime laws.

This will definitely be one of my favourites of 2016.  I highly recommend.


  1. It sounds very exciting but maybe a tad predictable. Did you see it coming or did it surprise you?

    1. What you are thinking is not the result, HA :-)

  2. Your answers in the comments have intrigued me!

    1. Mystica, if a book is obvious that is a fail for me, I really enjoyed it.

  3. I've not heard of it, but it sounds very interesting Marce!

  4. I'm with you Marce, I hadn't known anything about the policing on the sea before I read this book - it hasn't made me want to go on a cruise anytime soon!

    1. Isn't that interesting - sounds like a way not to want to deal with difficult emotional risks of reputation.

  5. I have the first two in the Angela Marsons series to read. I should go ahead and get started on those too. I also have The Orphan Train to read, and look forward to your thoughts on it. Happy reading.

  6. I'm a little worried that the book might be a little cliched- it sounds quite unique but sometimes it's the original looking ones that aren't that great.
    Your review of it is great though- so it's going on to my TBR list!

  7. One of life's great pleasures is discovering a new author. Catherine Ryan Howard's first novel was one of these discoveries. The plot was fast moving and always interesting. The characters were very well developed. I'm looking forward to more of this author's books.

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  8. I enjoyed this book so much! Convoluted in its plot but just enough without being confusing. Character's you get to know, situations that are frightening or uplifting, full of atmosphere and tension. Twists and turns but so perfectly written I never lost track. I couldn't put it down! I'm a fan for life.

    Gretta Hewson


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