I was lucky enough to meet Irish writer Catherine Ryan Howard at last year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, where she told me about her debut novel that would be published this year. And now, well… Distress Signals is starting to generate some buzz around it and it looks set to be a bit of a hit. It’s released on 5th May (next week!) here in the UK, but already it has been optioned for television.
The book has been optioned by Great Point Media-backed Jet Stone Productions, who had a hand in current hit, Line Of Duty.
So, Distress Signals, then. Here’s what it’s all about: 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 the 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.
The book has already garnered serious praise from Crime Fiction Lover (see the review here), so I can’t wait to get stuck into it and also see how the development process goes.
Reacting to the news, Catherine told me earlier: “I’m so thrilled and excited that Jet Stone saw in Distress Signals something they thought would make good TV. As the book hasn’t been published yet, this also really helps with the drowning depth of fear and anxiety I experience whenever someone reminds me that the book is out next week. This feels like a reassuring squeeze. (No pun intended re: the drowning – it’s always puns o’clock when you’ve written a book about a murder on a cruise ship – trust me!)”
To reserve your copy of Distress Signals, go here or, you know, go to your local independent bookshop and have a word.