D.M. Pulley's debut novel The Dead Key starts with keys and goes from there....
The Dead Key is told in two narratives - the past is 1978 and the present is 1998. And everything revolves around The First Bank of Cleveland. Twenty years ago there were allegations of fraud, staff had disappeared at the bank and more. One night, with no warning to the remaining staff or customers, the bank is shuttered. It has remained locked up and seemingly forgotten for the last twenty years. Except for the security guard who has been on site for all of that time.
1998 - Engineer Iris Latch goes in to map out the building for a possible buyer - and comes across the lost keys to the still locked safety deposit boxes. 1978 - young Beatrice Davies is a new employee of First Bank who stumbles upon some goings on that aren't quite right. The two women are investigating the same mystery, but I found it was Beatrice I was drawn to. I found myself quite annoyed with Iris's actions, choices and attitude.
But it is the forgotten building untouched for twenty years that had me intrigued. Vending machines still plugged in and working? Family photos on desks? I would love to be an urban explorer in this building. I really enjoyed Pulley's slow revealing of the physical bank and its secrets.
What has lead to the closing of the bank is revealed through the two women's investigations. Corruption,greed and larceny figure heavily into the story line. I did find that some of the plot points in the story needed to be taken with a grain of salt, but overall I thought the The Dead Key was a good debut novel. Recommended for the beach bag or plane ride.
It was only after finishing the book, that I discovered The Dead Key was based on fact - D.M. Pulley did indeed come across a basement full of unclaimed safety deposit boxes!
Read an excerpt of The Dead Key.
"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." You can connect with D.M. Pulley on Twitter as well as on Facebook.
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And if this sounds like a book you'd like to read, I have a copy to giveaway, courtesy of Thomas and Mercer. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends May 2/15. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.