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The Dead Key by D. M. Pulley
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The Dead Key

by D. M. Pulley

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2014 Winner ƒ?? Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award ƒ?? Grand Prize and Mystery & Thriller Fiction Winner Itƒ??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 Clevelandƒ??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 vaultƒ??s safe-deposit boxes were lost. In the years since, Clevelandƒ??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 bankƒ??s sordid past. With each haunting revelation, Iris follows the looming shadow of the past deeper into the vaultƒ??and soon realizes that the key to the mystery comes at an astonishing price. ( )
  cdiemert | Jul 30, 2017 |
Iris’ first engineering job was to create plans for each floor in the old Bank of Cleveland building, which had been empty for 20 years, ever since it closed in 1978 for embezzlement and fraud. Though creeped out at the thought of working there alone, except for a security guard, Iris was ecstatic to have landed her first real engineering gig. Soon, Iris began to notice strange things about the bank. Not only did it have a secret entrance via an underground tunnel system, but each of the almost 1200 safe deposit boxes still contained their treasures, and all of the bank’s files were still in place.

When Iris finds a strange little key in a desk drawer, and finds out that the safe deposit boxes were never emptied due to a set of missing keys, her interest in the bank’s old secrets is piqued. However when she discovers a body and begins to gets closer to the events that caused the Bank to close, she soon finds out there are people willing to kill to keep their secrets uncovered.

Through the use of flashbacks to events from 1978 that led to 1998, Pulley keeps readers on the edge of their seats, as each puzzle piece of the mystery is unraveled. The surprise ending will be a shocker.

Recommended for Adults.

Book review link: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2017/06/17/the-dead-key-d-m-pulley/ ( )
  sunshinealma | Jun 17, 2017 |
Not bad! I love listening audio books that are exciting. If it is not an exciting book (mostly thrillers), I lose track and interest. This was a great commute book. It started as a ghost story, but turned into a detective story right at the middle. I liked the whole "warrior women" aspect and several surprise elements. Not everything gets resolved or it is not exactly a fairy tale, but it will keep on your toes. ( )
  soontobefree | May 1, 2017 |
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 unravel....

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 character 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, Beatrice's 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.

I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley and from TLC Book Tours in return for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
This one was a lot of fun. It had all the elements that I would expect from a good mystery. Between the mysterious abandoned building, the plot alternating between two time periods, and wanting to know what is stored in the safe deposit boxes, how could you go wrong? The fact that this is Ms. Pulley's debut gives us hope for much more as her career continues.

Narrative: 3rd person omniscient. The storytelling is well done even if there are elements that don't fit right. There are a few minor time-period discrepancies that are easy to overlook. Attention to detail seems to come and go as needed. For instance, the whole book takes you through 15 floors of an abandoned building and that navigation comes in handy periodically as things are happening; clearly the attention to detail pays off. Further, the story takes place in two different periods, 1978 and 1998. Beatrice and Iris are walking through the same offices and hallways, yet for one of them it's teeming with staff and for the other it's empty and covered in dust. At the same time, when detail would become cumbersome, Pulley is smart to back off. This seems to help keep the story going in a way that keeps the feeling of tediousness at bay.

Characters: I have to say the only reason this doesn't get 5 stars is due to the characters, primarily that of Iris. She just seems too much of a dunce yet she somehow got through college with high ranks. Put together with her binge drinking, supposedly closest friends, her sexual deviance and the strained relationship with her mom it becomes too much. On the one hand she's clean cut and has so much going for her but on the other hand she's a total wreck. More subtlety would have helped her character out a lot. There were a few things you would figure a trained structural or architectural engineer would know, but Iris is oblivious to. Beatrice and Max, on the other hand, seemed to be more developed, particularly Beatrice. Her backstory would make a great prequel. We only get to hear so much about it. The others in the cast are, for the most part, filler.

Story: This is where the book shines. The device used to tell the story is executed quite well. You have the main story taking place in 1978. In that time period you are learning first hand what is going on though only so much at once. Meanwhile you are watching Iris put the mystery together in 1998 after most of the 1978 cast is gone, either by disappearance, dismissal, or age. These two periods jump back and forth, frequently paralleling each other. In 1978 you have a bustling bank building filled with employees who have lives, drama, cigarette breaks, affairs, and the like... in 1998 that same building has been abandoned with everything left inside just as it was the day before the doors were locked. This leads to an eerie feeling which is, perhaps, where most of the suspense comes from. I was a little disappointed in the ending; I would have simply preferred a little more tidying up, but apart from that I don't see how any mystery fan wouldn't enjoy this adventure.

Overall this was a fun and enjoyable read. It was hard to put down and I hope it's an indication of other things to come from this author. ( )
  NeverEnoughTime | Dec 23, 2016 |
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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.
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