Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Distress Signals - Catherine Ryan Howard

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 did I think?

If you've ever watched a series of Damages, you will know what I mean when I say that this book started with a glimpse of the ending and I couldn't read fast enough to find out how it got there.  The first sentence sees Adam jumping off a cruise liner and my heart rate immediately began to speed up.  After a few paragraphs, you realise that he wasn't the only one to go overboard...from then on, I was caught hook, line and sinker!

Adam thinks his girlfriend, Sarah, has gone on a business trip to Barcelona but when she doesn't return he starts to get worried. Sarah's friends and parents have not heard from her and then Adam receives an envelope containing Sarah's passport and a post-it note saying that she's sorry.  I had tingles up my spine when Adam got this - has Sarah disappeared to begin a new life or has something more sinister happened?  Engage thrusters: increase reading speed.

As if that wasn't intriguing enough, interspersed chapters introduce us to Corinne and Romain.  Corinne is working on the Celebrate, a luxury cruise liner, and she appears to have something to hide.  Romain's story begins when he was a young boy and trouble seems to follow him around.  His story, although disturbing, was really sad at times and I thought he might have had a better life if he had got some help early on.  So what do Corinne and Romain have to do with Sarah's story?  I'm not going to tell you but it's all part of the mystery of the Celebrate.

Adam starts to dig around to find out what happened to Sarah and his search leads him to the Celebrate.  Sarah is not the only person to go missing on that ship and Adam enlists the help of another man searching for his wife.  The suspense and tension mounts with every page as the mystery is gradually revealed.  I was suspicious of everyone but could never have imagined the brilliant ending.

Distress Signals has all the ingredients for a wonderfully written thriller.  Full of twists and turns, clues and red herrings; it's an all round gripping read that is sure to be a big hit in 2016.

I received this book from the publisher, Corvus, in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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