The Dead Key
By D.M. Pulley
Author’s Website: www.dmpulley.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Scott
A “dead key” in banking terms is a key to a safety deposit box that has gone dormant, over an extended period of time. D.M Pulley has woven a wonderful tale from this concept and her novel, The Dead Key is a double ended mystery, one occurring in 1978 and the next in 1998; both tightly intertwined. It really is a joy seeing the two mysteries weave in and out of themselves, dropping foreshadowing and hints in the 20 year gap in the calendar.
The plot is spot on. Deftly intertwining one mystery in a novel is a feat but, with ridiculous ease Pulley pulls off two. Tightly paced, and grossly engaging, the two plot strands could without effort stand up on their own merit, but together they make a powerhouse tour de force, that drags the reader in the pool and pulls them under, This is one of the most solidly laid out foundations, I’ve seen in a while
The two main characters in the novel, Beatrice, a juvenile, works at the bank 20 years prior, and finds herself becoming embroiled in a conspiracy that resonates 20 years later. Iris, the twentyish civil engineer, asked to do a floor mapping at the mysterious First Bank of Cleveland, which closed under strange circumstances 20 years earlier, soon finds herself caught in the same tangled webs of deceit and lies in the big business world. The cast of characters that surround the two protagonists, are well thought out and complete. The three dimensional layers that are built slowly up out of the whole cloth of the novel keeps no action unjustified as characters behave in the manner you would expect.
The writing is top grade, flowing serendipitously off the page – slow and careful to some extent and feverously panicky when the jig is up. It was a treat to hear Pulley describe her own line of work, as a forensic engineer first and foremost, and incorporating the trade lingo, the corporate structure and much more into her novel. This doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, limit her in producing the non-technical side of the book. The bank room’s internal politics is just as well depicted, leading you to wonder if the author held a job in a banking cubicle, as well.
With shocking revelations and a solid structure to pin them on, you can’t go wrong with The Dead Key. It’s that good. Sure, a few things could have been left out, and the reader would probably like more placed in but it well deserves a 4 Star rating. Be you a lover of mysteries, interested in conspiracy theories, or just open to new experiences, this novel is a solid staple in any book buyers list.