Published Feb 2 by Blackstone Publishing
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.
Distress Signals is a debut novel that packs a wallop of a punch! What starts off as a seemingly perfect, easy going relationship between Sarah and Adam turns into something else entirely. For ten years, Sarah has stuck by Adam while he pursued his dreams of becoming a writer. Finally, he seems to have struck gold, selling his screenplay to Hollywood. Things are looking up for him financially and he just might be ready to pop the question to Sarah…see things are going well, right?
When Sarah takes a business trip to Barcelona, Adam doesn’t think too much of the fact that he has only received a quick text from her right after she landed. Then silence. After a couple days of not being able to get ahold of her, Adam starts to feel that niggling worry that something’s most definitely off. When her parents get involved, things go from bad to worse, especially after Sarah doesn’t return on her scheduled return day. The note Adam soon receives in the mail from Sarah is pretty cryptic and he sets off on a one man mission to find out what happened to the love of his life. Did she leave him of her own free will or did something much more sinister happen to her? How big is the rabbit hole Adam is venturing down as he sets off to get these questions answered and how much did he really know Sarah? For that matter, how much do we really know Adam?
Those questions and many more kept swirling around in my head as we follow Adam as he painstakingly recreates Sarah’s movements after she went to Barcelona. And actually, he’s a pretty good detective because little by little he narrows down Sarah’s destination after Barcelona to a cruise ship called the Celebrate. Questions arise…what was she doing on a cruise ship? Was she alone and if not who was she with? What happened after she boarded the ship is where things get very interesting and all I’m going to say about the plot! While most of the story is told from Adam’s perspective, there are a couple subplots that prove to spin an even bigger web for the story. One is Corinne’s, a cruise ship staff member who seems very on edge and to be hiding something most of the time. Another is Romain’s, a man who seems just not quite right and who’s story is told in flashbacks to his childhood. How these threads tie together had me questioning and second guessing myself so much my head was spinning. They also had me staying up SO late one night, quickly turning the pages in an effort to figure out how it all tied together and what happened to Sarah.
The way the author let this complex plot unfold…layer by layer…was perfectly executed. In addition, the details she incorporated surrounding cruise ships and maritime laws was fascinating to say the least. I found this story to be page turning and twisty with characters that may not be who we thought they were, a setting that invites suspense and mystery and an ending that proved my detective skills are subpar at best! This is one debut novel I highly recommend, but get ready to stay up late because you won’t want to put this down.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for my copy of this book. I’m happy to provide an honest review.