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