RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
The Dead Key is D.M. Pulley’s first book and the winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award-Grand Prize and Mystery Thriller Fiction Winner. After reading and being immersed in this mystery, I can understand the awards. I lived and worked in Downtown Cleveland during both protagonists’ time periods and find this to be an intriguing fictional history and mystery of what happened to the old bank in 1978 and 1998 at 9th and Euclid.
Two timelines and protagonists come together to solve the mystery of the bank’s safe deposit boxes. In 1978, Beatrice Baker takes a secretarial job at 16 and begins to find that there are secrets to kill for at the First Bank of Cleveland. In 1998, Iris Latch is an engineer sent to the bank to do a floor to floor survey for buyers interested in the old bank building. She finds many rooms, offices and files exactly as they were the day the bank locked its doors in 1978. Even though there is a twenty year time span, both young women become endangered as they try to understand the importance of the keys to the safe deposit boxes in the vault.
I really enjoyed the two intertwining timelines and protagonists. Beatrice was a much more sympathetic and strong character. She faces extremely difficult personal problems and dangerous situations for her young age. Iris hates her job, parties too much and is not very responsible. I feel many of us at that age can relate to boring first office jobs, wanting to get away from home and few friends which can lead to bad judgement at times. Plot twists, spooky atmosphere and an interesting mystery makes for a very happy reader. I recommend this book highly.