Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard | Book Review

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard. Advance Reader Copy (ARC) from the publisher included. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Things are finally looking up for Adam Dunne. There has been some interest in his script and he can’t wait to celebrate with Sarah, his girlfriend, when she returns from a business trip to Barcelona. But Sarah doesn’t return and Adam’s life begins to fall apart.

A few days later, Sarah’s passport arrives in the post with a note that reads “I’m sorry – S”. An already worried Adam becomes even more concerned for Sarah’s safety. The police, however, conclude that Sarah chose to leave and they won’t investigate any further.

Adam realises that it’s up to him to find Sarah and he’s prepared to do whatever it takes.

The good

Catherine Ryan Howard is a master storyteller. She beautifully crafts a narrative full of tales of relationships gone wrong, missed opportunities, secrets and intrigue.

As events unfold, the depth of Howard’s skill is showcased beautifully. On numerous occasions I thought I’d figured out what happened to Sarah only to be proven wrong. Yet, nothing about Distress Signals seems forced or unnecessary.


Distress Signals is well paced and full of tension; what makes it stand out is the significant role the cruise ship plays. What happens when a crime happens on a cruise ship? Which country has jurisdiction and how many resources do they actually dedicate to crimes committed miles from land? These are the issues that Adam finds himself up against. These are questions that add an extra layer of intrigue to Catherine Ryan Howard’s confident debut. Distress Signals is a must read for fans of crime fiction.

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