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Reviewed by Jenna Arthur

The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley is a book full of mystery and intrigue. Set in two different time periods, the story begins in the late 1990’s and  follows a young civil engineer as she is sent on a special assignment to the First Bank of Cleveland. Ecstatic to be taken seriously and retreat from her boring cubicle life, Iris Latch jumps on the chance to advance her career and knowledge by taking on the large task of assessing the possibility that this old, decaying structure can be restored. Little does she know that the bank has a lot more history and is much more than it seems…

A renovation feasibility study turns into a curiosity and starts to unweave the tangled web of the past so long buried, a past when this foreboding business mysteriously fired all of its employees and closed. As Iris explores she starts to find things left behind, the most interesting, a key. This key is more than just a key–it is an instrument that opens many doors to mysteries, theft, and murder. With Iris delving more into its past, we are transported in between her world and the 1970s, where we find Miss Beatrice Baker, a young girl pretending to be something that she’s not, and more experienced than she is ready to be.

A naive girl, Beatrice jumps at the chance when she is presented with the opportunity to be more and make more of herself as a secretary at the First Bank of Cleveland. But as Beatrice finds out, the bank is a far darker and twisted place than it seems. It houses secrets, secrets that could be deadly. What unites these two curious women? The key. The key that unlocks the story.

For me, D.M. Pulley’s book didn’t pull me right in and I really had to commit to keep reading. Although filled with wondrous sentence structure and descriptions, the first quarter of the story was too slow for the type of book the description had made it out to be. But once invested and into the final three quarters of the book, there are more wonderful descriptions of architecture, more plots twists, and an interweaving of time periods and stories that all wind up being delightful. If you can hang on past the slow climb, The Dead Key is definitely worth a Saturday read.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Jenna lives in the bustling city of Pittsburgh, PA with her wife, her chihuahua Penny, her retriever Ella and her two beautiful cats. Along with her passion for reading and the literary world, she is also an artist, writer, environmental activist, creative coordinator and aspiring culinary genius. She believes there is nothing better to her then a good book, and lives one cover to the next.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Thomas & Mercer. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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