2014 Winner — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award — Grand Prize and Mystery & Thriller Fiction Winner
It’s 1998, and for years the old First Bank of Cleveland has sat abandoned, perfectly preserved, its secrets only speculated on by the outside world.
Twenty years before, amid strange staff disappearances and allegations of fraud, panicked investors sold Cleveland’s largest bank in the middle of the night, locking out customers and employees, and thwarting a looming federal investigation. In the confusion that followed, the keys to the vault’s safe-deposit boxes were lost.
In the years since, Cleveland’s wealthy businessmen kept the truth buried in the abandoned high-rise. The ransacked offices and forgotten safe-deposit boxes remain locked in time, until young engineer Iris Latch stumbles upon them during a renovation survey. What begins as a welcome break from her cubicle becomes an obsession as Iris unravels the bank’s sordid past. With each haunting revelation, Iris follows the looming shadow of the past deeper into the vault—and soon realizes that the key to the mystery comes at an astonishing price.
|Product dimensions:||8.10(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
D. M. Pulley is a professional engineer from Shaker Heights, Ohio, who specializes in rehabbing historic structures as well as conducting forensic investigations of building failures. Pulley’s structural survey of an abandoned building in Cleveland formed the basis for The Dead Key.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Iris Latch is unhappy in her new job at a Cleveland engineering firm. She's always been a bit lazy, a bit lackluster.....and now that she's graduated from college and has student loans to pay, she isn't enjoying her adult life at all. She gets handed grunt work to do....and hates it. Then, out of nowhere, she is asked to complete a special project. She is to draw floor plans for the First Bank of Cleveland building. The bank closed 20 years before in 1978 after a scandal of some sort involving safe deposit boxes and incomplete banking records. Iris has no idea when she enters the dusty time capsule of dusty marble and gold trim that a young bank employee stumbled on a crime so big that it imploded some of the wealthiest families in Cleveland and ruined The First Bank of Cleveland. A crime so big that it is still very dangerous to go poking around the dark, closed building. Beatrice in 1978 and Iris in 1998 will share in the fear very, very soon, even if they are 20 years apart in time. This is such a suspenseful and interesting story!! I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Emily Sutton-Smith, and the details are so vivid that I could imagine being in that dusty, dark creepy bank building. I don't usually like stories that jump back and forth in time, but both main characters and the storylines are so well crafted that it was seamless. The time jumps just heightened the suspense, rather than making the plot confusing. I felt sorry for both women and could imagine how scary both situations would be. The suspense and mystery build until the very last page of this story! Best suspense story I have come across in a long time! The story kept my attention to the very end. Loved it! The audiobook is just under 14 hours long. It took me several days to listen to the entire story because I didn't want to miss anything! Emily Sutton-Smith read at a nice even pace, and her voice was perfect! I have hearing loss, and sometimes female voices are difficult for me to understand. But I had no problem hearing and understanding this audiobook. Awesome story!! I am definitely going to read more by D.M. Pulley!
Newly qualified engineer Iris Latch is assigned a job working in an old disused tower block, the old home of a now defunct bank. Intrigued by the abandoned items in the bank, Iris begins to discover interesting and compelling history of the bank. This history is detailed in alternating storylines past and present, and introduces the main character from the past, Beatrice. The deeper Iris digs the deeper she falls into trouble as does Beatrice in the past. It is an interesting story of greed power and corruption which ends in a fairly predictable outcome, but this does not spoil your enjoyment as you read on to confirm your predictions. It is not a big thriller but does provide most of the element of a good mystery story, not bad.
I found it amazing that you could just shut down a bank and leave everything as it is for twenty years. That was a very interesting idea for a book. We get to follow Iris in the present time as she tries to unravel the bank's past and we also get to know Beatrice that worked at the bank in 1978, the year that the bank closed down. Slowly the mystery starts to unravelled.... I liked the book, but I also find it sometimes a bit slow paced, not that it became boring. But it never really got me totally engrossed into the story. It was more my own willpower to read than the story that sometimes kept me going. But still it was interesting. I wanted to know how it all came to be that the bank closed down. But I had some problems with the main characters. I just couldn't connect to either of them. Sometimes you like one characters better when it is two different storylines, but in this case I just felt that both just didn't get to me. Frankly the character that was most interesting was Maxine, Beatrices friend. It got a bit exciting towards the end when everything came together, but I was a bit disappointed about the ending. I turned the last page and that was it and I felt a bit let down. But all and all it was a good read, the book was well written and the concept felt new.
The Dead Key is a page turner like no other. I had to force myself to put the book down and go to sleep. I turned off the light. The clock read 2:45AM. There are two intense intertwining mysteries occurring ten years apart. Two clever protagonists that have so much character, I would like to invite them over for dinner. A great read! A Wow!