Distress Signals is a chilling mystery about a woman who goes missing from a cruise ship and her boyfriend's quest to find out what happened. Sarah was supposed to go to Barcelona on business but when she doesn't return Adam starts to realize something was wrong. Their relationship might not have been where he thought it was. Instead of coming home she boarded a cruise ship and supposedly disembarked in France- but there's no sign of her. Adam eventually boards the cruise ship himself, after retracing her steps, but things just get more complicated from there.
Cruise ship plus missing person pretty much had me at the premise. Add that atmospheric cover and I was sold. Unfortunately this was hit or miss for me. There are two stories here- one is Adam and Sarah's story, which I liked, and the other is from a different perspective, which I did not like. For spoilery reasons I don't want to say too much about the other POV, other than to say it brought the book down. I couldn't get into it and at the end I had to wonder if it was even necessary. The main plot point is the disappearance of Sarah, but there are other things happening here and by the end they are somewhat connected. I say somewhat because I didn't think the secondary storyline was necessary.
If you just stick with Adam and Sarah though, I liked the story a lot. It's tense and has several twists towards the end that really raise the stakes. Adam is forced to question everything he knew about his relationship with Sarah and is forced to confront some truths about himself that maybe he didn't want to see. And he's pretty realistic- he freaks out at times, and the author really sold the devastation he feels when he realizes he may never be with her again.
Adam is determined though and even though he may be self- absorbed he does love Sarah. I liked the glimpse of her we get before she leaves, and would have loved to see more from her POV. The story touches on maritime law and the fact that there is not a lot of accountability, generally speaking, for crimes committed at sea. That alone could make one want to reconsider their next cruise! The locations range from Ireland to France and while the action picks u towards the end, I wasn't really buying the ultimate why of this. The payoff didn't seem very plausible to me. The twist though is nice and I thought was unexpected.
I thought this might be in the same vein as The Woman in Cabin 10, and to some degree it might be, if you swap out the Norwegian setting of that one for the French Riviera in this one. I think this is a fine mystery, and a very thought provoking read about what someone might do if a person they love goes on a trip but doesn't come back. There's also a theme of a good person pushed past their limits- that I thought was done well- but again this would have been a winner for me if not for that secondary storyline.