An Irish Times and USA Today Bestseller

One of Amazon UK’s ‘Rising Star’ Best Debuts of 2016

Winner: Best Mystery, Independent cryptocurrency philippines Press Awards 2017 USA

Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger 2017

Shortlisted for Books Are My Bag IBA Crime Novel of the Year 2016


An astonishing new voice in thriller writing. – Liz Nugent

An exhilarating debut from a hugely talented author. – Mark Edwards

Impeccably sustained, with not a false note. – Irish Times


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 crypto exchange philippines 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…



Pacey, suspenseful and intriguing … [A] top class, page turning read. Catherine Ryan Howard is an astonishing new voice in thriller writing. – Liz Nugent, No.1 bestselling author of Unravelling Oliver and Lying in Wait

An exhilarating debut thriller from a hugely talented author. Distress Signals is fast-paced, twisty and an absolute joy to read. – Mark Edwards, #1 bestselling author of The Magpies and Follow You Home

Distress Signals is a highly confident and accomplished debut novel, impeccably sustained, with not a false note. The exploration of the often murky backstage workings of the best crypto exchange philippines luxury liner world is fascinating, and there is a psychologically acute portrait of a killer that is genuinely moving. We will hear a great deal more of this author. – Irish Times

An excellent debut thriller which may give cruising executives some sleepless nights. – Irish Independent

This is Catherine Ryan Howard’s debut thriller, and what a tense, tight, original page turner she’s delivered…Writing a thriller which doesn’t leave readers with a sense of deja vu isn’t easy these days, but Catherine Ryan Howard has managed it triumphantly. Definitely a new, exciting and original author to watch. – Sunday Independent

Clever and compulsive. I read it in one sitting. – Irish Examiner

[Story] lines eventually connect … in surprising ways, as life and death aboard a cruise ship prove very mysterious indeed. – Publishers Weekly

An engaging thriller written with authenticity and aplomb from a writer who knows her craft. – Books Ireland

A debut novel with a cracking plot and satisfyingly eerie writing throughout. We read it in one sitting.- Woman’s Way 

This isn’t just another Gone Girl wannabe … The plot twists, roiling like the sea. Hold on, you’re in for a wild ride. – Bookpage

All the more impressive when considering that Distress Signals is author Catherine Ryan Howard’s debut as a novelist, this exceptionally well crafted and compelling read is very highly recommended. – Midwest Book Review

Howard weaves an intricate web of suspense chapter by chapter…and before you know it, you’re trapped inside. – Brian Freeman, bestselling author of Goodbye to the Dead

[A] gripping, smart, and fast-moving read. [Catherine Ryan Howard’s] insights and thoughtful writing immerse you in the fascinating world of cruise ships and the mysterious, perfect crimes committed at sea. The compelling mystery at the heart of this debut novel is engrossing, and [the] clever plotting makes this a terrific debut. – Christine Carbo, bestselling author of Mortal Fall

Skillfully plotted, with well-paced suspense, each segment pulls you further into unravelling this jigsaw of secrets. A warmth and empathy for the principle protagonist and sundry characters is skilfully woven in this tale, forged with vibrant dialogue that brings each of the principle players wonderfully to life. A perfect holiday read. – Louise Philips

I loved the voice… [An] engaging, unusual and believable thriller. -Sinéad Crowley

Twisty and gripping. – Claire McGowan



Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse…

PicMonkey Collage

Superb … absolutely gripping. [You] may well wonder at Howard’s audacity and confidence as she all but turns the narrative on its head. [She] saves the biggest shock for the end – literally, the last two words. – Crime Fiction Lover

Distress Signals [is] a classic old-school twisty thriller without the need for an unreliable narrator, even more impressive as it’s Catherine Ryan Howard’s debut. – In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel

[An] incredibly well-plotted tale [with] elastic-band-about-to-snap tension. A brilliant debut …the type of read that simply can’t be compared to anything else. – Cleopatra Loves Books

A stunning crime debut, clever to the core and brimming with plot twists and tension, Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard is a must-read for summer 2016. – Daisy Chain Book Reviews

A fantastic debut … [although] if you are setting off on a cruise any time soon I would maybe leave Distress Signals until you come back. – A Crime Reader’s Blog

Catherine Ryan Howard’s thriller debut is something special. This is a page-turner that should be packed in every suitcase this year. Just don’t expect to dip in and out of it. – Bleach House Library

There is no safe place to put this book down. – Rea Book Reviews

A thriller that allows us to believe we can second guess it before the conclusion shows us how wrong we are… Loved it! –

A tense, fast read with a really great story. – Bibliophile Book Club

[A] very cleverly written book and an excellent start into writing, I couldn’t believe this was a debut! Howard has set the standard now and if all her books are as good as this I think she would fast become one of my favourite authors. – The Book Corner

[An] incredibly accomplished, intelligent compelling thriller. This is one of those page-turners, the kind of book that is difficult to set aside for very long, and when you do, you’ll find yourself thinking and wondering about what the outcome is going to be. – Random Things Through My Letterbox

A brilliant, clever and gripping psychological thriller … Beautifully paced and with a fascinating suggestion of the darker underworld of the cruise industry, Distress Signals is a compelling read that not only looks at the ‘who done it’ but also the ‘why’.- The Very Pink Notebook

It’s one book I’ll be hounding everyone read because it’s that good. – Just Book Talk

The suspense and tension mounts with every page … I was suspicious of everyone but could never have imagined the brilliant ending. 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. – The Book Magnet

A stunner of a crime debut … Distress Signals is unique, clever and incredibly well written. It’s definitely one of the standout thrillers of 2016. Catherine Ryan Howard is a major new crime fiction talent and breathes new life into an overcrowded genre. – Jess Hearts Books

The books grips from the very first disturbing, exhilarating chapter … Catherine Ryan Howard is a fine writer and it’s hard to believe that Distress Signals is a debut novel – it is so confident and assured and I can’t wait to see what comes next. – For Winter Nights

Catherine Ryan Howard is a master storyteller. She beautifully crafts a narrative full of tales of relationships gone wrong, missed opportunities, secrets and intrigue. [Questions raised by maritime law] add an extra layer of intrigue to [this] confident debut. – Cornflake Girl’s Musings

[A] great debut novel from Catherine Ryan Howard …  I don’t doubt for a second the beginning of a very glittery, literary career. – Swirl and Thread

Howard delivers the classic page turner elements in Distress Signals. Just when I think I will put it down, she drops a clanger which has me wanting to read more. – The Happy Scribbler

[A] well plotted and characterised story that will keep the reader guessing well into to the third act … an effortlessly entertaining [novel]. – The Novel Project Chronicles

[A] well written début novel that establishes Catherine Ryan Howard as a suspense writer worth watching. – Between My Lines

Every chapter drops a bomb. And that last, final OMG moment! – ChickLit Pad

[A]  fast-paced rollercoaster ride, with believable and likeable characters, very readable narrative and a carefully constructed plot. I had NO idea what the ending was going to reveal and it was fascinating to see all of the jigsaw pieces slot carefully into place. – Off the Shelf Book Reviews

Unputdownable… [One] of those stories where you keep thinking: what if this hadn’t happened? Coincidences, fate… Read this book. – The Misstery

I didn’t like Distress Signals, I absolutely LOVED it. I can’t recommend it enough. – Celeste Loves Books

The main setting was brought to life so well, and the plot so deftly executed, that it’s tempting to suggest that the author is invited to write a series of thrillers aboard cruise ship. But wherever her next thriller is set, I’ll be keen to read it. – Debbie Young

Distress Signals has got to be my favourite read of 2016 so far. Each chapter left on a cliff-hanger and told you something new. – Louise Mullins


Find out more about The Liar’s Girl, coming March 2018

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