Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Suspense


A Thriller

by (author) Amy McCulloch

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
May 2022
Suspense, Crime, Contemporary Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2023
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


“A vertigo-inducing page-turner by an author who brings the high-stakes world of expert mountain-climbing to life on the page.” —Nita Prose, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Maid
A young woman's once-in-lifetime adventure in the world of extreme-altitude mountaineering takes a chilling turn when a series of deaths can no longer be written off as accidents.

When journalist and novice climber Cecily Wong is asked to summit Mount Manaslu, the eighth-highest peak in the world, it's a career-making opportunity. She's been personally invited by Charles McVeigh, one of the most acclaimed mountaineers in the world, who wants her to report on the final leg of his record-breaking series of summits. But there's one caveat: he won't give her the interview until she's scaled the mountain as part of his climbing party.

Cecily is by far the least experienced of the group, but she is intent on proving herself and will stop at nothing to reach the summit. But when strange things start to happen around her, she becomes concerned. And then people start to die.

Stranded on the mountain with a team she barely knows, she must battle more than the elements in an epic fight for survival—against one of the world's most dangerous mountains and against an unknown assailant who is picking climbers off one by one.

About the author

Amy McCulloch is a Canadian author and freelance editor. Her debut fantasy adventure novel, The Oathbreaker's Shadow, was published in 2013 and was longlisted for the Branford Boase Award for best UK debut children's book.The Potion Diaries series, written under Amy Alward, was an international success and was selected for the Zoella Book Club in 2016. Amy lives life in a continual search for adventure, coffee and really great books. 
Visit her at or on Twitter @amymcculloch

Amy McCulloch's profile page


  • Winner, National Outdoor Book Award - Outdoor Literature

Editorial Reviews

*One of Indigo’s Top 10 Thrillers of 2022*

“A vertigo-inducing page-turner by an author who brings the high-stakes world of expert mountain-climbing to life on the page.”
—Nita Prose, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Maid

“If you’re looking for a book to thrill and transport you, then Breathless is the read for you! Set high in the chilling Death Zone, this thriller had me on the edge of my seat. I loved being immersed in the competitive, high-stakes world of alpine climbing and Amy brilliantly evokes how risky this setting is, a setting that can only get deadlier with a murderer on the mountain... A must read for 2022.”
—Sarah Pearse, New York Times bestselling author of The Sanatorium

“A high-altitude, high-stakes thriller that combines fascinating, authentic mountaineering experience with pure thriller entertainment. Reminded me of the best of Michael Crichton, where in-depth knowledge and a masterful plot work together to create a tense adrenaline-fuelled ride. I loved it!”
—Matt Haig, internationally bestselling author of The Midnight Library

“Intense and sinister . . . Amy McCulloch’s chilling setting is remarkably evocative, and I was transfixed by her brave heroine. . . . Mesmerizing and haunting, this enthralling suspense will make you shiver with dread and tear through the pages to the pulse-pounding end.”
—Samantha M. Bailey, USA Today and #1 national bestselling author of Woman on the Edge

“This thriller would be unsettling enough at sea level, but in the death zone it’s suffocatingly tense . . . combines extreme mountaineering with murder to create a novel that’s chilling, vivid, and entirely unique.”
—Abigail Dean, New York Times bestselling author of Girl A

“I climbed Manaslu with Amy - she is the real deal.”
Nirmal “Nimsdai” Purja, author of Beyond Possible and star of the Netflix documentary 14 Peaks
“Spine-tingling. . . . Amy McCulloch so expertly captures the thrill and dangers of high altitude climbing in [Breathless]. There are very few well written and realistic works of fiction on climbing and this gripping thriller is clearly one.”
“The fact that McCulloch has actually climbed Manaslu allows her to ground her zippy thriller in first-hand experience. . . . In between the deaths and cliffhangers through which the plot hurtles, McCulloch puts her firsthand knowledge on display—in the process winning our trust as readers and shedding an uncomfortable amount of light on some of mountaineering’s less admirable aspects.”

“The action on Manaslu is gripping and scary, and readers will feel as if they’re breathing the same thin air as the young writer, who’s in over her head well above the clouds. Thriller fans will eagerly await McCulloch’s next.”
Publishers Weekly
“[A] great page-turner.”
—Hilary Duff, via Instagram
“Stunning. Suffocatingly tense, highly original and exhilarating, Breathless is an early contender for thriller of the year.”
Daily Express (UK)
“Gripping. Thrilling.”
Sunday Times (UK)

“Tense, chilling, and terrifying, with unforgettable characters and an unpredictable and atmospheric plot. One of the most original thrillers I’ve read. Deserves to be huge!”
—Claire Douglas, bestselling author of Last Seen Alive

“Nail-biting, chilling, totally exhilarating . . . a true triumph.”
—Stacey Halls, bestselling author of The Familiars

“Both a fascinating insight into the world of high-altitude mountaineering and a chilling, twisty thriller. Absorbing and atmospheric.”
—Louise O’Neill, bestselling author of After the Silence

“I loved it. I read it in two sittings. It was so tense by the end, the air in my room felt as thin as in the mountains. I think it’s a total triumph of a thriller.”
—Gillian McAllister, bestselling author of That Night

“Tense, terrifying, and fascinating in equal measure.”
—Catherine Cooper, bestselling author of The Chalet

“A thriller that moves at a breakneck pace through the ice-packed dangers of the Death Zone. . . . It’ll leave you breathless, too.”
—Laura Lam, bestselling author of Goldilocks

“A truly terrifying thriller with a tense and twisty plot and an incredibly dangerous setting. . . . A brilliant concept, superbly executed.”
—Allie Reynolds, bestselling author of Shiver
“[McCulloch] combines her own experience climbing Mount Manaslu with a chilly and addictive murder mystery that’s sure to leave you recording frantic voice notes to your pals in the middle of the night, willing them to read it at once.”
“Amy McCulloch’s new novel Breathless gives new meaning to the term high-stakes thriller. . . . [It] takes suspense to new peaks.”
New York Post

Well written and pacy. . . . McCulloch allows the anticipation and dread to grow with each chapter, her descriptions of mountain life are incredible and the isolation that would come from being atop a mountain is perfectly pitched."
—The Hunt’s Post
Amy McCulloch's mountain-set thriller Breathless is perfect winter read [with] thrills, spills, murder and mystery.
—The Scarborough News

Other titles by