Review: Breathless by Amy McCulloch

Breathless by Amy McCullochAbout this book

The unputdownable and chilling  Sunday Times  Crime Book of the Month
When you’re this high up, no one can hear you scream: an ice-cold thriller from an expert mountaineer turned bestselling author
At the top of the world’s tallest mountains, there literally isn’t enough oxygen to breathe. In the space of hours your body will begin to shut down. Any longer, and death is inevitable.
What better place for a serial killer to find their next victim?
Struggling journalist Cecily Wong is delighted to be invited to interview famed mountaineer Charles McVeigh, conditional on joining his team on one of the Himalayas’ toughest peaks.
But on the mountain, it’s clear something is wrong. It begins small – a theft, an accidental fall. And then a note, pinned to her tent in the night: there’s a murderer on the mountain…

Breathless by Amy McCullochMy thoughts

Set in the beautiful, but merciless Himalayas – specifically around Manaslu, the 8th highest peak in the world. The grandeur of the scenery, as well as the demanding challenges and live-threatening dangers the climbers face are vividly described by the author, Amy McCulloch, who has conquered some of the highest and most well-known peaks. She managed to transport me right to that location – and our freezing winter temperatures amplified the experience!

We meet Cecily Wong, a journalist with a not-so-rosy past when it comes to mountaineering. It is in fact, her blog about failing a previous expedition, that gave her some level of recognition. She can save her faltering career by getting an exclusive interview with internationally renowned mountaineer Charles McVeigh. But his prerequisite is that she needs to join him and a group of seven strangers, and together with this group, summit Manaslu. The story is told from Cecily’s point of view, and we experience all the stress, frustrations, and fears through her eyes. She does struggle with confidence, due to previous failures and that fact that she is the least experienced climber in the group, thus she does feel like an imposter most of the time. Her anxiety is ramped up 100% when she realises that there is someone lurking around the camp after dark, and even more so when she receives an anonymous note warning her of a murderer on the mountain.

Breathless by Amy McCullochIf that is not enough, she also needs to deal with the physical and mental strain of the climb and being in constant battle with the elements. And after all, it being such a treacherous climb, how can you not trust those around you? How easy would it be to have an “accident” and not make it out of there? Who will come looking for you in the “death zone”? Or is she just being paranoid?

The author did a brilliant job in building the tension in the story, which makes this such a thrilling read. It has some surprising twists along the way as well!

If you are an adrenalin junkie (or an armchair adventurer, like me), you will enjoy this book!

Rating: 3.5/5

Want to read an extract?

“Breathless” is published locally (South Africa) by Penguin Random House SA.  

Thanks to the publisher for the gifted copy.