Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: March 1, 2015
Challenges: NetGalley and Edelweiss ARCs
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.
Blurb from goodreads:
2014 Winner — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award — Grand Prize and Mystery & Thriller Fiction Winner
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 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.
The premise grabbed me so I nabbed this when it was offered. Sadly, it didn't meet my expectations.
The story was inspired by real events and those were the best part of the story. I wish that had been the focus. The story we got was a mess. It was a fascinating look at banking procedures though other reviews I've read faulted it for accuracy. I got confused at times, keeping everything straight with events and people, and the constant POV jumping was frustrating.
There are two stories interwoven here. In the 70s, we have young Beatrice, whose back story is vague, and her current circumstances are difficult. Then in the late 90s we have Iris, a supposedly bright young woman who behaves quite stupidly most of the time. I liked Beatrice and I felt sorry for her. She was a little naive, hard working, loyal, and while she made some bad decisions, she was usually well intentioned.
Iris, oy Iris. Nosy, (Okay, Beatrice could be too), impulsive, not hard working, and prone to stupid judgments, lots of them. There's a mystery, both current and from the 70s; the latter, of course, involves Beatrice. Beatrice got caught up in events, based on real happenings, and those reverberate into the 90s where Iris gets involved. It was never actually clear to me why Iris was involved other than being nosy and really bad at her paying job.
The mysteries were okay, there was a semi decent conspiracy story but overall, the story was meh. There's not a lot of happy in the story: most of the men are jerks, Beatrice has a rough life without a definitive HEA, Iris has a sort of HEA; most of the mysteries are answered, but there are a lot of loose ends and not a lot of likable people. While one of the bad guys was obvious, another took me by surprise, and the pacing was uneven. I think you could easily skip this one, even if it did win awards.