Paperback: 477 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (March 1, 2015)
Grand Prize Winner, 2014 — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award
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.
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.
D. M. Pulley’s first novel, The Dead Key, was inspired by her work as a structural engineer in Cleveland, Ohio. During a survey of an abandoned building, she discovered a basement vault full of unclaimed safe deposit boxes. The mystery behind the vault haunted her for years, until she put down her calculator and started writing. The Dead Key was the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award grand prize winner. Pulley continues to work as a private consultant and forensic engineer, investigating building failures and designing renovations. She lives in northeast Ohio with her husband and two children, and she is currently at work on her second novel.
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