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Thursday, February 2, 2017

#CJSReads 2017 REVIEW: Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Jessica, Samantha and I  have finished our first February Release read and it was a doozy! 
This debut novel by Catherine Ryan Howard was absolutely fantastic and one you should definitely pick up if you're a fan of thrillers.  A full FIVE STARS from all three of us!

A big thank you to Blackstone Publishing for teaming with #CJSReads2017 and donating 3 of these books for our giveaway.  Shout outs to all who entered - we appreciate all of you and stay tuned for more giveaways coming your way!

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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 ...

Jessica's Thoughts:
5 / 5 Stars
I loved Distress Signals! An amazing debut novel by Catherine Ryan Howard. I read this in two sittings and could not put it down. Gone Girl meets The Girl on the Train, and all on a cruise ship. So many twists and turns, intertwining story lines, and an ending I was not expecting. 

This psychological thriller is told through the eyes of multiple characters: Adam, Corinne, and Romain. We follow the story of Adam and his girlfriend Sarah. When Sarah unexpectedly goes missing, Adam's life it turned upside down. While on his journey to solving Sarah's disappearance he learns secrets along the way that lead him to the Celebrate, a cruise ship, and where Sarah was last seen. 

We also follow the story of Romain, a Frenchman, and his troubled childhood. A story that seems to be completely out of place, but seamlessly meets with the rest of the current events. 

Corinne is a crew member aboard the Celebrate. The cruise ship where everything meets its climax. 

I was on the edge of my seat throughout this book. I couldn't figure out the ending! Howard did a great job developing the characters and keeping the story moving. A quick and exhilarating read that I highly recommend.

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Sam's Thoughts:
5 / 5 Stars

Distress Signals, the debut thriller by Catherine Ryan Howard, had me on the edge of my seat. I read this book in an afternoon; I could not put this one down. Gone Girl on the high sea, this novel had twists, turns, and red herrings aplenty. By the end of this novel, when all of the truths had been revealed, I was in absolute awe of Howard and her ability to weave a story. What a debut!
Adam narrates the novel, for the most part, as he searches for answers regarding his missing girlfriend. Other chapters give a narrative voice to Romain, a Frenchman with a sordid past. As these stories intricately weave together, I was anxious and on the edge of my seat trying to understand how these paths would collide.   I was completely invested in these characters and their plights.
I loved the way Howard was able to roll out the plot; it flowed seamlessly. I had suspicions but had no idea how anything was going to fit or what was truly going on. I knew something bigger was happening but could not understand how any of these pieces would fit together in the end. This is the way a psychological thriller is supposed to feel!
This one gets 5/5 stars from me. Excellent debut and I cannot wait to see what Catherine Ryan Howard will write next! 
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My Thoughts:
5 / 5 Stars
What an incredible debut by Catherine Ryan Howard! Adam's girlfriend, Sarah, takes off for a business trip to Barcelona but never returns. Adam gets her passport in the mail with a note simply stating "I'm sorry - S". He then uncovers that she was actually on a cruise ship and now he's on a mission to find out why and figure out what has happened to her.

This book is mainly told through Adam's eyes as he learns truths about Sarah, himself and those around him. We also have a subplot story told through the eyes of Corrine and Romain. These stories are intricately woven and excellently written. I did NOT see a couple of the twists at the end and I LOVE it when I get surprised. When the author can make me feel empathy for a psychopath, I am a happy girl. What can I say, I love the twisted mind. Maybe my research on nature vs nurture and my love for learning about the human psyche just brings all this home for me. I am thoroughly impressed with this debut novel. 

Love intrigue, mystery, suspense and two stories for the price of one? Pick up this book NOW! I never particularly cared to go on a cruise ship before - certainly am more deterred than ever. Five full nautical stars.

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