Published by Thomas & Mercer on March 1, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Format: Kindle Edition
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.
Well, The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley has sadly been filed under my “did not finish” category. And it’s a real bummer, because the description showed truly excellent promise.
And sure, I might have been just a little bit hopeful when the description said that the mystery would take place in the First Bank of Cleveland, because Cleveland is my home. (Or at least the closest large city to my small farm town.) I was excited to read about street names I recognized and landmarks that would be completely familiar. But The Dead Key was just so boring.
My main issue was Iris. Considering she plays a massive part in the progression of the story, you’d think her character could have been a little less annoying. She was either whining, or unprepared, or arrogant, and I absolutely could not continue learning about the mystery of the bank through her.
Add my unlikeable character in with The Dead Key‘s slow-moving and predictable plot, and I just couldn’t stand to read another word.
Like I said before, The Dead Key has so much potential to be a truly intriguing and exciting read, but the title characters have to have the type of personality that makes a reader want to follow them to the end of the mystery. And likeable characters are really necessary if an author is going to have such a slow moving plot as this one.
I truly don’t have much else to say about The Dead Key other than save your time and skip this novel. Pick up a classic Agatha Christie mystery instead.