Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

February 28th, 2017 Kimberly Review 43 Comments

28th Feb
Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard
Distress Signals
by Catherine Ryan Howard
Narrator: Alan Smyth, Bronson Pinchot, Suzanne Toren
Length: 11 hours and 42 minutes
Genres: Thriller
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 4 cups

A debut thriller that channels Gone Girl, from the newest writer to watch, Catherine Ryan Howard

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...

SUSPENSE twisted thriller mystery

I am always up for trying a new to me author on audio, especially when it comes to thrillers. DISTRESS SIGNALS by Catherine Ryan Howard offered up a thrilling missing person’s mystery with twists and turns that kept me listening into the wee hours.

“I jump before I decide I’m going to.”

Adam Dunne is a struggling writer who has finally gotten his big break, all that is left is getting the edits turned on in time and deciding how to spend his advance. Sarah, his live-in girlfriend of ten years, is leaving for a business trip to Barcelona. Adam drops her off at the airport and heads back to the flat to work on edits. He becomes concerned when he is unable to make contact with her and the story that unfolds quickly pulled me in.

Concerned parents, unanswered phone calls, and messages give way to a returned passport and startling discoveries about Sarah’s trip. Howard weaved an addictive story. We spent most of our time with Adam as he uncovers clues that unsettle him. He was such a realistic character, and I felt for him even if occasionally I felt the need to slap him Gibbs style. (NCIS TV Show) The parents and friends of Sarah become involved as they attempt to get the police to help. All of this leads Adam to investigate on his own. He wants proof that will get the law involved.

Poor Adam gets the run around as he frantically searches for clues. The way he went about gathering them and connecting dots were interesting from calls to internet searches. His banter and inner dialogue kept me engaged. Even with his flaws and cluelessness, Adam was quite the sleuth. Howard showcased his abilities while exposing his vulnerabilities and fears.

The story takes us from Cork, Ireland to a luxurious cruise ship that departs from Barcelona. The author was brilliant in her approach with unfolding the tale to the reader. She threaded pieces and tidbits together leaving me stunned. I love how the tension built and left me unsure of characters are their motives.

We learn a great deal about Maritime law and Howard seamlessly wove these facts into the tale without info dumps. I found these tidbits interesting and relevant to the current story. It also sent shivers down my spine as I realized what a perfect criminal playground these ships are.

We are made privy to other stories throughout the novel. We as the reader are treated to snippets of character’s lives. It added to the overall suspense and had me trying to connect all of the pieces. Wowzers, it was brilliant when they all began clicking into place. The ending left me breathless. Bravo!

Three voices narrate DISTRESS SIGNALS and all were new to me.  Alan Smyth, Bronson Pinchot, and Suzanne Toren. All did a stellar job of capturing the characters. Their voices added layers to this already rich, and well-written suspense. As I listened, I could hear the tale unfold and felt the characters emotions. Adam Dunne’s characterization was brilliantly translated to audio.

Fans of Harlen Corben and  Clare Mackintosh will enjoy DISTRESS SIGNALS. This was a stunning thriller that kept me guessing, and I will certainly be looking for more from this author.


Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard was a stunning thriller that kept me guessing #audio Click To Tweet

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

43 Responses to “Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard”

  1. Michele

    Oh yeah, this is a me book. Gotta have it. Love your review (NCIS reference, especially). I’m all about the chills up the spine and being kept in the dark alone with all my guessing! The ocean scares the floof out of me, too! Eeeep! Adding it to my list 🙂

  2. Nise'

    I am about six discs in and am hooked wanting to know how the other story lines are connected and can’t stop listening. This is a new to me author as well as new to me narrators.

  3. Lily B

    Gah I saw this at the library the other day, I think they even have it online and was considering it x.x but now I might pick up it knowing that you really enjoyed it. So it wasn’t really boring?
    I’m worried Adam might piss me off tho

  4. Braine

    Podcasts have spoiled me with voice actors, does a lot for a story. So it’s cool that not only did you discover new artists, that the story is also great and your new author discovery is a success. Can’t get any better than that

  5. Heidi

    Bronson Pinchot… isn’t that the guy who used to be on that sitcom in the 80s…. I am hunting for terrific thrillers that arent’ too dark and gory. I will see if I can get this from the library.

  6. Dragonfly

    This sounds like an audio book I’d like to try because I don’t think I have listen to thriller before. There is something about a thriller in the ocean that gives me BIG CHILLS! because I’m very afraid of open waters. So Perfect!!!

  7. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I have been meaning to read this author…and this one sounds like my kind of book! I love thrillers, and even characters I want to slap now and then.

    The story seems to take us to some great places, too, so I’m up for the journey. Thanks, Kimberly!

  8. JoLee

    I do not read thrillers but I do love a good book with twist and turns. Awesome you were able to feel what these characters were feeling. That is the best in a book.

  9. Debbie Haupt

    Oh wow fantastic, I too love new to me authors and this one sounds right up my twisted alley Kim. Great review and I love the premise I’m already getting my Amazon visa out 😉

  10. Ailyn Koay

    are you sure? because Gone Girl was super great, with all that scheming, this does not look like a girl scheming at all…

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Hey, the publishers wrote that comparison. I will say, there were things going on that compare. Personally, I hate when they do that.

  11. Ethan

    I’m usually weary of books that claim to be “the next Gone Girl”. That being said, the summary of this one already has me hooked. Favorable comparisons to Corben only increase that excitement!