The Dead Key

  • by D. M. Pulley
  • Narrated by Emily Sutton-Smith
  • 13 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

2014 Winner - Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award - Mystery & Thriller
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 have 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Retired Banker says "Keep up with the keys!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

YES, especially to my banking friends of the 70's decade! Banking was different back then and even though this story is a bit far fetched, it is feasible in a crazy sort of way, well...not really, but what a ride. The author must have had some banker friends to help put this together. I recommend!


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Dead Key?

Many moments are scary with lots of twist, but finding out which one is the DEAD key! The book moved back and forth between the 70's and 90's and transitioned each time change well. You never felt lost.


Have you listened to any of Emily Sutton-Smith’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not that I can recall, but she was the perfect choice for this book.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Scary. I did not want to stop listening. I really liked the fact that it was not so short. The author did a great job at defining the characters and describing the scenes and places.


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- kathy "Listening to audiobooks allows me to multi-task while I play with my dogs or quilt. Having someone read to me is relaxing!"

Way better that I expected

This book was rather interesting for me in a few different ways. I am a usual fantasy/scifi reader so a thriller/mystery isn't my niche and I don't have much to compare it to. Based on just reviews I was expecting this to be a two maybe three star read. There was a lot of people saying how unrealistic the book was, and maybe it was- but since I wasn't around in the 70s or an adult in the 90s I don't really know how the banking system was. I do believe the level of corruption was just right in this novel. It was so nice to have such a tangled ball of greed be pulled apart piece by piece revealing the sordid details of both the past and present. This maybe would have been five stars for me if I didn't absolutely hate Iris, one of the main characters. And I mean I hate her. I spent a lot of the book just rolling my eyes at her. She is an insecure, needy female who spends most of her time drunk and has a cigarette in her hand any chance she gets. The amount of smoking in this book made me crave fresh air. I do think they used her character traits very nicely in the story however especially in explaining some of the twists at the end. Now as for Beatrice, the second female lead, I loved her. The author was able to weave the details of a story told decades apart beautifully. The story was so intricate I didn't have the ending spelled out for me and also elegant enough as to flow seamlessly between decades without losing the reader. I highly recommend giving this a try.
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- Bettie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-01-2015
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio