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The Dead Key by [D. M. Pulley]
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The Dead Key Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 10,709 ratings

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From the Editor

When engineer Iris Latch gets her first field assignment out of college, surveying an abandoned bank, she’s just looking forward to a break from her cubicle. Instead, hidden among cobwebbed desks and dusty files untouched for twenty years, she finds hints that something rotten used to go on in the back offices. She comes to believe that someone else, a young secretary named Beatrice Baker, may have left those clues on purpose—and at great risk to herself.

The “dead key” in the title can grant access to wealth and forgotten secrets, but for me, the most valuable thing it unlocks is Iris’s connection to this young woman from the past. They share a lonely but fierce spirit that won’t let them step aside as corrupt and powerful men go unpunished. Their stories intertwine even though they don’t know each other, and in a strange way, they are counting on each other to expose the truth at last.

I fell completely under the spell of D. M. Pulley’s storytelling, and I’m not alone: readers voted this book the grand prize winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The author, herself an engineer, told me that she was inspired by her own experience of surveying a building that had been vacant since the 1970s. “I began to wonder about the people who worked in the building when it closed. Walking through the empty secretarial pools, I imagined a young woman trapped at her desk, holding the key to the scandal that ruined the bank. I felt like she wanted to tell me what happened.”

Put yourself in D. M. Pulley’s shoes. Entering an abandoned building for the first time, brushing away the dust to find traces of other lives—how could you not begin to wonder what undisturbed secrets those rooms held?

- Kjersti Egerdahl, Editor

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This superb novel tells the story of two heroines separated by 20 years: 1978’s Beatrice Baker and 1998’s Iris Latch, both of whom become perilously embroiled in the behind-the-scenes dirty dealings at the First Bank of Cleveland. Beatrice, a 16 year-old who passes herself off as 18, lands a secretarial job at the bank just months before the bank allows the city to default on its loans and abruptly closes down without explanation. Iris, a young engineer working her first job out of the office, finds herself assigned to map out a floor plan for the bank building which has been empty for two decades. She is shocked to see that most offices were never emptied, and that many bank records, including personnel files, are still in the cabinets. Just as Beatrice did 20 years before her, Iris quickly recognizes that there’s something not quite right at the bank and she soon learns that the building is not as empty as everyone thinks. Both women seek answers to the mysteries they uncover, while a gruesome discovery ups the stakes considerably. Readers, along with the main characters, will be sucked into the secrets the bank holds and will remain guessing until the end. Fast paced, faultlessly written, and engaging, this is a page turner with a very surprising and plausible twist. There are not enough superlatives to describe this engrossing novel.

About the Author

D. M. Pulley is a professional engineer from Shaker Heights, Ohio, who specializes in rehabbing historic structures as well as conducting forensic investigations of building failures. Pulley’s structural survey of an abandoned building in Cleveland formed the basis for The Dead Key.

Product details

  • Publisher : Thomas & Mercer (March 1, 2015)
  • Publication date : March 1, 2015
  • Language : English
  • File size : 2884 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 428 pages
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 10,709 ratings

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
10,709 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on March 2, 2019
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12 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on June 24, 2015
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25 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on February 27, 2019
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Top reviews from other countries

Clare Louise
5.0 out of 5 stars Both Iris’s and Beatrice’s characters are well written and the throughout the story it is easy to connect with them emotionally
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 7, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book which was a great holiday read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 2, 2017
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2 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars A recommended read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 2, 2015
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Mrs. Diana G. Money
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets better
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 4, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book which is historically accurate and highly evocative
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 16, 2015
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4 people found this helpful
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