by Catherine Ryan Howard
Narrator: Alan Smyth, Bronson Pinchot, Suzanne Toren
Length: 11 hours and 42 minutes
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Narration Rating: 4
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...
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.
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