Monday 5 September 2016

Book Review - Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #37

Amazon UK
Title: Distress Signals
Author: Catherine Ryan Howard
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Corvus
Publication Date: 5th May 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

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...

What an incredibly impressive debut novel, from the first moments I was hooked on the action, and couldn't put the book down at all. I had to drag myself to bed, with a promise that the only thing I would do in the morning was finish reading. 

Distress Signals is the sort of story that really gets under my skin, all I really knew before I started it, was that it was a psychological thriller that involved a cruise ship. I'm a huge fan of cruising, and even after various things were explained in the book, that make it clear how if things go wrong on a cruise, its pretty much a perfect crime due to the various laws involved, I did find myself just wondering where would I be cruising next, and would I be brave enough to actually travel alone again in that case. 

There are a lot of what appear to be coincidences in the story and I really did feel for Adam, and his frustration with his local police who really weren't worried about Sarah's disappearance. All could be explained fairly logically, and as Adam goes digging himself for answers as to where his beloved girlfriend of 10 years has gone, he doesn't always  like the answers. 

The descriptions of the Celebrate, that ship it turns out Sarah was on, made me feel as though I was on a cruise myself, I could picture the ship quite clearly in my minds eye, and couldn't help but wonder which real cruise line it is modelled on (I suspect its the one that is mentioned in the book, but only because of a couple of features). 

The pacing of the story is brilliant, and there were so many times I thought I had figured it out, and then was proved wrong almost on the next page. The story is split into four main parts, but what really intrigued me where the chapters written from Romain's point of view. I can't say who he is, or how he connects in, but his early childhood is in part terrifying and in part intriguing, as is the way he describes himself. 

Distress Signals has certainly affected me, and its only because I love cruising so much that I will have to force myself to forget this book at some point, so I can continue having the holidays I love so much, or else I fear this may destroy a love, such is the power of this story. 

I can't thank the 7 of you that voted for this book last week enough, I had been becoming disillusioned with psychological thrillers recently, and was worried they were no long having any affect on me. Based on my reaction to this I can now conclude that the other books definitely just weren't right for me, whereas this one was brilliant, and I am so glad. Thank you. 


  1. Wow Rachel...glad you enjoyed it so much :)

  2. Okay, you hooked me, Rachel. This is one I have to read. :) Well done, Catherine. Thanks for sharing, Rachel! xx

  3. I want to read this and was looking forward to your review ~ thanks Rachel

  4. Rachel this is one of my favourite reviews for DS - thank you SO much! Glad you enjoyed it. x

    1. You are very welcome Catherine. Always a fantastic boost to hear an author likes a review.

      Can't believe I have chickened out and booked a land holiday for my winter sun fix though!


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