“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.
Set in the Himalayas, McCulloch's promising debut gets off to a slow start with too much exposition, but the pace soon picks up. Budding outdoors writer Cecily Wong has landed a chance to interview famed climber Charles McVeigh, but there's a big catch. Cecily, a novice climber, must climb the Nepalese peak Manaslu, the world's eighth-highest mountain, one of 14 summits above 26,000 feet, the altitude known as the "death zone." McVeigh is trying to summit all 14 mountains in a year, without ropes or supplemental oxygen, an unprecedented feat. Cecily's expedition runs into trouble early on, as two members of her team die under suspicious circumstances, and the challenges of extreme climbing test her own strength and resolve. As Cecily chases a killer story on a killer mountain, she realizes there's a killer among the mountaineers. 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.