Read The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett Online


The year is 1919.The McNaughton Corporation is the pinnacle of American industry. They built the guns that won the Great War before it even began. They built the airships that tie the world together. And, above all, they built Evesden-a shining metropolis, the best that the world has to offer.But something is rotten at the heart of the city. Deep underground, a trolley carThe year is 1919.The McNaughton Corporation is the pinnacle of American industry. They built the guns that won the Great War before it even began. They built the airships that tie the world together. And, above all, they built Evesden-a shining metropolis, the best that the world has to offer.But something is rotten at the heart of the city. Deep underground, a trolley car pulls into a station with eleven dead bodies inside. Four minutes before, the victims were seen boarding at the previous station. Eleven men butchered by hand in the blink of an eye. All are dead. And all are union.Now, one man, Cyril Hayes, must fix this. There is a dark secret behind the inventions of McNaughton and with a war brewing between the executives and the workers, the truth must be discovered before the whole city burns. Caught between the union and the company, between the police and the victims, Hayes must uncover the mystery before it kills him....

Title : The Company Man
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780316054706
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 464 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Company Man Reviews

  • Chris Matney
    2018-10-13 20:15

    I'm not sure who gave me this book, but the premise seemed intriguing. A mystery that promises a bit of steampunk atmosphere set in an alternate America of 1919 where the McNaughton Corporation has become so powerful as almost be their own nation.Without giving away the plot, what I liked about the book were the characters - Hayes, Gavey and Samantha. They were interesting, quirky and unpredictable. While the dialog was weak in points, the development of the primary relationships and the secondary characters was very solid. What was happening to Hayes? Was Sam as good as she appeared? Yeah, the characters were sweet.I liked the setting - the fictitious Evesden on the coast of Washington State. In many ways, the author made the town yet another character in the book - dark and dying. The descriptions were vivid, and I felt myself pulled into the town and the mysterious McNaughton Corp.And the book had some good twists - especially the identity of the killer and the unexpected deaths.What kept me from giving the book 5-stars? The pacing was a bit uneven, and I found myself having to work a bit too much during the discovery phases of the book - especially the retelling of the gun smuggling on the coast. I might have eliminated Spinsie, for instance, and more quickly revealed his information via "discovered documents" or another plot device.My biggest complaint was that the "big reveal" at the end was just one long soliloquy that revealed everything - all details exposed, story over - in one undramatic swoop. No danger, no suspense. It is almost like the author decided it was time to end the book, and put everything into that one chapter. For a book that teased wonderfully around the edges, I would have loved to more slowly discover the answers without relying on spoon feeding by the omniscient narrator-like construct.That said, the book is an enjoyable read. If you like alternate futures and a good mystery, then I recommend The Company Man.

  • Julie
    2018-09-27 20:40

    I've been talking about this book a lot, because the premise is so utterly up my alley and I pretty much stan RJB's concepts. So, in a nutshell: In an alternate-universe dieselpunk 1919, a staggeringly powerful corporation named McNoughton has achieved prominence due to their world-changing inventions. They send their 'company man' -- Cyril Hayes, special agent, investigator, problem-solver, fixer, and psychic empath -- to investigate a slew of union murders, lest the company/union tensions bubble over and take the city with it. The events unfurl in the Pacific Northwest, in a fictional city named Evesden in Washington state.The first thing to come to mind is that the atmosphere and setting is incredibly evocative and painted in great detail: the financially polarised sections of the city, the lavish sweeping rich districts versus the grim and gritty Shanties, the incredibly colourful and vibrant corners of the city and the treats it has to offer, from sewers to skyscrapers to trolleys to waterside markets to airship docks, and the shadow of McNoughton over it all. Evesden is a fantastic setting, 'urban fantasy' sorta by way of Miéville (but far less wordy -- Bennett's prose is streamlined and utilitarian). Which is the kind of thing I love, when a city becomes a living breathing entity. (And in this novel, perhaps more literally than most.)Character-wise, the novel is populated with a huge sprawl of fun minor characters, which is an improvement on the smaller scale of Bennett's debut (I love ensemble casts, what can I say). Hayes has an upstanding and dutiful partner in the form of Garvey, the police detective, and a plucky and meticulous female assistant named Samantha -- both of whom I loved, and they all made for a compelling and likeable trio unravelling the mystery at the heart of the novel. Hayes is broken and dysfunctional and sour, and I love him -- he fits right alongside other hardbitten noir heroes, barely cobbled together with alcohol and opiates, except that he's also... well... psychic.I saw the overarching twist coming -- I have to say that I preferred the noir-esque first 2/3 of the book, consisting of pounding the pavement, chasing leads and shaking up clues, so it dragged a bit for me in the final act, but I still thought the twist was brilliantly foreshadowed and built up just enough.I don't want to say much else for fear of spoiling it, so in short, The Company Man is a tantalising mystery set in an incredibly rich AU setting. I loved mentally gambolling about in Evesden, and could even see myself craving another novel (or a few short stories) set here; the worldbuilding was prime.Though lastly, I'm bemused by the plethora of people using the term 'steampunk' to describe this book. Dieselpunk, guys, start using it!

  • Blood Rose Books
    2018-10-21 15:42

    Robert Jackson Bennett, takes us to a 1920s world, where the one company controls everything, and the thoughts of a workers turn unionization to help protect their rights but this company will to anything to make sure this does not happen.It is nearing the end of 1919, the world is controlled by the ever present McNaughton company. McNaughton is responsible for every big and desirable invention that has happened in the last 25 or more years, but at what cost? They have created the beautiful city of Evesden, but lurking beneath the streets is something dark and sinister as a trolley cart pulls into a station with 11butchered union men on board. The people are crying out for justice, that McNaughton is the cause but the police are powerless to persecute a company that has become a world super power. One man is assigned to the job of hunting down the union leaders and seeing them brought before the McNaughton company, but Cyril Hayes is not known for being a team player or caring which tactics get the job done. He has worked for McNaughton for years because they have helped fuel his addictions, but the mystery behind the McNaughton's inventions, the unions and deaths, is the most powerful addiction that Hayes has.I actually did not realize that this book had a steam punk and sci-fi feel to it as nothing is mentioned about it in the premise of the book. I thought it was a mystery/thriller book that was based in the 1920s, people wanting to unionize and the companies doing what they could to prevent it. This is not to say that the sci-fi aspect is in your face all the time, it is more subtle and not a constant aspect other than Hayes abilities. This book is really about the Company vs. the Unions, and the battles that ensued as each side tries to promote their beliefs and survive.True the main character Hayes has the ability to mimic people and read people minds and emotions if he is in contact with them for long enough but I did not think Bennett would take the sci-fi aspect as far as he did. I really liked Hayes "powers" within this book, at first I was not sure if he did have powers, I thought he was the master of manipulation and a chameleon which would have been powers in their own right, but add in alight mind reading ability and Hayes becomes a very qualified investigator and interrogator.Bennett does a great job of building and describing this 1920s world, it was described in such a way that I would picture the city in only blue, white, gray and black shades a very bleak and powerful picture. The people and the world are desperate. There a huge discrepancy between the rich and the poor and the McNaughton company who monopolize it all. The city, the people and the world, are all controlled by the McNaughton corporation in some sense, everyone relies on their inventions, discoveries and wealth, that people believe that they are unable to live without McNaughton. From the overall desperation of the people living in the Shanty area of town, to Hayes addictions to get some peace to Sam attempting to prove her worth and Garvey attempting to find some justice in the world. The book does have an overall depressing feeling about it, but there is hope in what the main characters investigation will present, one that is hopefully a better future. Bennett`s talent lies in his ability to create a world that you truly believe it was real and that his novel was the way things actually did happen in the past. This book is full on conspiracy and the main characters do not know who they can trust, even each other. Garvey is a police officer whole is loyal to policing and believes not only the city as it once was, but in right and wrong. He is stressed and over whelmed by the amount of death that has occurred within his city (I believe the total stated is well over 400) but he feels helpless to prevent the act as well as solve the multiple homicides that reach his desk. He is searching for a way to make the city what it once was, could the answer lay within the unions, company or with Hayes in his backward (and often illegal way) of doing things. Then there is Sam, the one who is there to control Hayes, but no one can really do that. Sam is powerless most of the time as Hayes is just content to let Sam do all the research while he gallivants around town following the hunches that he gets. I actually questioned the introduction of Sam as a character, her main purpose is to do research however, I feel that this research could have been achieved by have Garvey completing more police work and becoming more of a main character. Perhaps Bennett did not wish to make the book into a police investigation one.Hayes is the anti hero in this book. He is working for the McNaughton company, and he only does it because it helps him focus and keep the voices out of his head. He also has a major drinking and drug problem, he likes to chase the dragon throughout the book, thinking that it helps him with the voices and the cases. Hayes appears to be loyal to the company but you are never really sure, one thing you are sure of is that he is loyal to himself, first and always. Hayes knows that the drinking and drugs are slowly killing him, but you can feel his pain and his need to escape reality for just a short time. I like when Bennett divulged a little bit of Hayes past and how he came to be working for McNaughton. I also likes how Hayes need for the hunt into mysteries was also an addiction to him and made me think of police officers that become so obsessed with cases that they are unable to see anything else. This is a characterization that is not explored often enough in crime type novels. I understand that Hayes is not a police officer, but an investigator of sort.The story leaves a little bit to be desired, it was a little slow at points and I found myself not with the huge need to continue reading the book at that moment, I was able to put it down and return to it at a later date. I think everyone wants to read a book that you cannot just walk away from, and for me this book lacked that aspect. I wish that Bennett would have ventured deeper into the hate that the unions had with the McNaughton company. I found that Bennett restricted Hayes and Sam too much through the McNaughton Corporation (though this may have been deliberate on his part to just show the control of the company, but I found this aspect did hurt the story). I also wonder if Bennett was trying to get his own point of view about technology and global warming across within the book (you will have to read the book to understand what I mean by this point, or maybe you will get an entirely different idea altogether).All in all, a pretty good read and I think it would be a good book if someone is wanting to try out the steam punk genre or a book that has just a touch of sci-fi in it. I have actually heard that his debut novel Mr. Shivers is fantastic (sorry no review of this book quite yet). I find that Bennett`s eye for detail, world building and Hayes overall "powers" has left me intrigued and asking for more, so I think I will be picking up Mr. Shivers (or his next book) sometime soon.Enjoy!!!

  • Mark
    2018-09-26 16:40

    Here’s a pleasant surprise: a detective style film noir, set in the late 1910’s but in an alternate world. A world of gangsters and the Union, in the fictional American city of Evesden, with worn-down detectives and corrupt business. And airships!In this post-Great War world we have gruff detective Donald Garvey and his slim blonde colleague, Cyril Hayes, who works for The McNaughton Corporation, the Microsoft of its age. Hayes is a washed out alcoholic who deals with the Corporation’s dirty business quietly. Recently he’s been on the skids, and after a botched job is now being supervised very closely by Samantha Fairbanks, up-and-coming company employee. He has to keep his secret talent, that he can sense what others are thinking, very carefully hidden.There’s someone or something out there killing Union factory workers, and Hayes needs to find out who. Not only because his employees want to know, but also because somebody doesn’t want him to find out. His life is at stake, the death count’s rising – and it could be Hayes next. Considering that this is only Robert’s second novel, after Mr Shivers(2009), this for me was an impressively assured novel. Its tone and style echoed the opulence and decay of early twentieth century urban America, with all, both the best and worst, it has to offer. It is a clever little novel which makes you feel immersed into a world of commercial skulduggery, union strikes, corrupt management and mob unrest. Reminiscient of Metropolis , it highlights not only the opportunities that technological development can offer but also shows the dark underbelly of such urban living. It is clear that there is a price to pay for such development. Progress, yes: but at what cost?The book does slow down in the middle, but the final dénouement that elevates the tale to one worthy of the genre is very well done There is a deus ex machina moment that made me think for a while afterwards, ‘What happens next?’ . The book finishes clearly at an appropriate point but one that left me pondering more.In summary, I was very pleasantly surprised by this one. Nice worldbuilding, great sense of atmosphere, nice tension on the whole. After being a little disappointed by Mr Shivers , this was a definite step in the right direction. More, please!

  • Matt Garcia
    2018-10-10 18:21

    Great complex characters. Hayes is the classic, troubled anti-hero but he's also eccentric and profoundly interesting. His unique ability was very cool and I liked the way it was used in the story. Garvey is the rogue cop who will stop at nothing until a case is solved. Bennett crafts an intriguing and entertaining cast of characters which added to the story immensely. Intricate plot that builds upon itself and kept me guessing. The mystery aspect is top notch. I liked the idea of the corporation being the big bad wolf in this story. Provides a lot of social commentary on how corporations can do a lot of good for countries, cities, and society but can also do a lot of bad depending on how you look at it. The novel is rich with social commentary throughout. Loved the blending of genres presented here. Sci-Fi, fantasy, mystery, noir/crime, horror, and steampunk elements throughout the story that complement each other perfectly. The setting of Evesden is great. The city is practically a living, breathing thing and is a character in the story and has a part to play even more so than the others. I liked how Bennett is able to paint such a vivid picture of the various sides of town from the business section downtown to the more downtrodden neighborhoods. Terrific period piece. You feel like you're a part of the roaring 20's and the imagery of the time comes alive because of Bennett's ability to tell a tale so well. Easy to read writing style that draws you in with its simplicity and readability but keeps you hooked with it's intricacy and charm. Felt like a movie at times. The Untouchables maybe being the closest thing that I can compare it to. It's like an action or mystery film where someone is going around talking to contacts and other sources to get the scoop of what's going on in the more seedy parts of the city. This is a big compliment because it's a testament to the strength of the imagery and storytelling. The last 75 pages or so take a complete 180 in tone and where you think the story is going. It caught me by surprise but it was still enjoyable, although not as strong as the previous parts of the novel. This was a terrific read by a talented author.

  • Debra
    2018-09-29 18:20

    I'm surprised by the lower ratings this novel is getting. I thought it was unique, well-written, had great characters, and a very interesting plot. I've enjoyed everything Bennett has written and look forward to more in the future.

  • Jeff Raymond
    2018-09-22 17:21

    I continue to be very hot and cold with Robert Jackson Bennett. In The Company Man, a sort of techno-futuristic mystery of sorts, I just wish the first 4/5ths of the book were as good as the last 1/5th. Instead, we get a lot of meandery worldbuilding with a drip-drip-drip of real detail until things really come together in the final scenes and begin to make sense. Ultimately, I did not love this, and much of it was a bit of a slog as opposed to an enjoyable experience - I just want to read American Elsewhere again.

  • Jaime Moyer
    2018-10-02 20:23

    I wanted to read this book because it covers the same time period I'm writing in, and I wanted to see what the author had done with it. It didn't take long for me to realize that the world Robert Bennett is writing about bears little resemblance to the America of 1919 that I know.And having read this entire book, I still don't know what to think about it. There were so many cool things that I liked, so many little twists and turns. The world felt right, cohesive, and the characters fit well within that world. The technology, while a step left of reality in some ways, also felt right. There was a whole lot to like about this book.All of which leads me to realize that I think, mostly, about this book on a technical level, as in how well the author did what he set out to do. Bennett portrayed a bleak world where the haves are so far above the people dwelling in the Shanties--the workers--that they might as well not be on the same planet. And that bleakness seeps into everything, colors relationships, friendships and how the characters ultimately view each other and their lives. People do what they have to do to survive, even if survival means staying numb or turning a blind eye to the misery surrounding you. It's a pretty hopeless place--unless you're part of the upper echelon of the Company.In many ways it's a reflection of the world we live in today. That reflection of class distinctions, wealth and the power it brings, isn't very flattering. That it's done so well makes it even less so.Yet Bennett ends this book on a note of hope and change. He deserves major kudos for pulling that off. That hope and change come at a cost, but nothing is free, not even in fiction.It was a well written book that kept me engaged from start to finish. If I had one wish, I'd have wished for a bit more emotion from the characters, a bit more warmth. But people dwelling in a cold, unfeeling world can probably be forgiven for lacking warm fuzzies.

  • Ellen
    2018-10-01 21:35

    The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit) begins in 1919 as a trolley car filled with eleven factory workers dead inside of it, rolls into a station. All were alive when they entered the trolley and all were union workers. The eponymous investigator works for the McNaughton Corporation, the powerful and mysterious entity running the United States from the capitol city of Evesden, located in a Pacific Northwest very different from the one we know. An engaging, noirish mystery, the book deservedly won the mystery and suspense field’s Edgar Award in the original paperback category.

  • Jeremy Hurd-McKenney
    2018-10-07 18:13

    This book vaguely floats through a number of genres--is it a mystery? noire? steampunk? sci-fi?--without fully committing to one, which makes for a spastic storyline that cannot stay in place long enough to engage me in the storyline. The charcacters are pretty one dimensional, as is the fictional mega-city of Evesden, Washington. The ending was the worst kind of cop out, resorting to unsatisfying cliche, and of course, an opening for a sequel. I won't read it, because I'm not entirely certain what happened in this one.

  • Sarah
    2018-10-06 22:42

    The Company Man is a solid book set in an amazingly vivid world with a complex, thought provoking plot and it’s yet another book by Bennett that refuses to fit into any one genre labeled box. Bennett is an author to watch.Read my full review here:

  • Liviu
    2018-10-04 19:28

    another well reviewed book that has a combination of so-so content as interest goes and unremarkable style to grab me

  • LordOfDorkness
    2018-10-08 17:31

    Its like detective noir meets ... Max Gladstone? China Mieville? Dragons of Babel? It has that same gritty, new-age feel, and I even like it despite its allusions to the oh so trendy (at least at the time of writing this) steampunkery. Its neato.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-09-28 17:42

    Steampunk noir scifi detective story set in a fictional city in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1900s. Very interesting and gripping mystery with an unexpected resolution.

  • Stephanie
    2018-10-14 19:30

    I really loved the first 2/3rd or so; solid 5 stars. The ending wasn't BAD, but just didn't resonate as much with me as the beginning, so averaged out at 4.

  • Victor Sanchez
    2018-09-25 16:19

    Tedious and dry.

  • Amelia
    2018-10-21 21:34

    The Company Man: Steampunk-y, Sci-Fi-y, Crime Noir-y, Goodness!A Review By: Amelia Interested in more book reviews? Check out my blog Bookworms Unite! ( love steampunk. I just love it. It’s a great world/style to muck about in! It takes the best parts of Victorian society and adds technological advances that might have happened and that’s super fascinating for me because I love alternate histories! The Company Man isn’t quite steampunk, but it is just enough for me to have jumped on his book without a second thought.The McNaughton Corporation is a corporation so large, so groundbreaking, so extraordinary, it is the apex of American industry. They supplied weapons for the great war, built massive airships, created a shining metropolis from the fishing wharfs where the Union skulks all the way to the sky high buildings where CEOs play their business games. But something is wrong in the city. One day a subway car pulls into a station with eleven dead bodies inside. It had left the last station four minutes ago and each person lay butchered like they never saw it coming. Worst of all, all eleven were Union. Cyril Hayes, a semi-washed up, mostly addicted detective must fix it. There is a dark secret behind the inventions of McNaughton and with a war brewing between the executives and the workers. Caught between the union and the company, between the police and the victims, Hayes must uncover the mystery before the whole city burns.This isn’t the first Robert Jackson Bennett book I’ve reviewed. Devotees of my reviews will remember my American Elsewhere one (which was so super hard for me to write because it was such a complex book and I was trying not to give anything away). The Company Man is his second full length novel and was nominated for a Philip K. Dick Award as well as an Edgar Award. I said it in the last review and I’ll say it again here: Bennett is a master of speculative fiction!The main character of The Company Man is Cyril Hayes and boy is he messed up! He suffers from a pseudo-physic condition that leaves him more or less crippled when it comes on and has left him addicted to any pain killers he can get his hands on. He works for McNaughton as a kind of internal affairs officer and when he’s put in charge of the mass murder in the subways his life only gets harder and more messed up. He’s not really a hero or an anti-hero, just a guy trying to do his job because he has too. That changes a little near the end of the book (but I’ll stop myself there to keep from spoiling anything) but mostly it’s just a guy trying to get through his life.The shining light of this story is definitely the locations in this steampunk story. The huge shining city of Evesden is so spectacularly detailed: there’s not a scene that doesn’t go in the story where all the intricacies are described or noted upon. There’s giant airships, underground trolleys, dirty slums, and a shining downtown. There’s underground machines that only a sixth sense can feel and secrets hidden just below the gleaming facade. All in all, it’s a setting that isn’t seen every often and won’t soon be forgotten!The Company Man is such an interesting mash-up of genres. It’s steampunk, sci-fi with crime noir and mystery thriller all rolled up into one! The characters progress the story nicely and the location is unique and original. It’s truly a joy to read.My final thoughts on The Company Man are that it’s a great read! It was a little slow to get going but the finale more than enough makes up for that because Bennett is amazing at ending his books with unexpected twists and serious action. Honestly, the last hundred pages of this book had be wishing there were a thousand more I could read about this universe!Interested in more book reviews? Check out my blog Bookworms Unite! (

  • Shelley
    2018-10-23 17:34

    The Company Man is a steampunk novel with alternate history and science fiction overtures. This makes for a very interesting setting. The book itself is set in Evesden, Washington in the early 20th (1919). Amazing new advancements have come courtesy of the McNaughton Corporation, and have ushered America onto the world stage, as well as making Evesden a hub for businesses and spite from others around the globe. There are basically three main characters that the author interweaves the story among, and they couldn’t be more different in character and what they believe in.Detective Don Garvey is an Evesden Homicide Investigator, who has been told by his bosses, to drop all other case, except for union members who have been dying. What he doesn’t know is that they are all employees of McNaughton who have been privately spying on the union, and that McNaughton’s own employees are plotting devious deeds that will blame the unions themselves for the troubles. Garvey is a divorced father of two little girls, as well as being a former librarian before finally becoming a murder cop. Garvey is good at his job, but is put into difficult situation because he is friends with Cyril Hayes, who has a different way about doing his investigations. Garvey, is also one of the few people who know about Hayes uniqueness, and doesn’t mind. Cyril Hayes is a private contractor, and a scientific oddity who works for McNaughton. It is job to look into trouble within the company and solve them before they spread. Hayes is supposed to be a scalpel, not a shotgun, but as he was looking into another problem, the person jumped and the company is now being sued. Now, he is being kept under wraps and ends up with an assistant (Samantha Fairbanks), and loads of ahead. Cyril is addicted to opium and finds himself in teahouses getting his fix on. Hayes can also feel echoes in people’s minds, and it tells them what they are really thinking about. People call him Princeling, for some reason, which is never really explained. He is a former British Colonel, and son of an ambassador to Pakistan who was given really one chance to change his life; work for McNaughton. Cyril’s uniqueness, in the end, is what drives this story to the ending.Samantha Fairbanks is Hayes new assistant, as well as a person who you can actually enjoy reading about. She’s not a sniffling loony when things go wrong. In fact, she jumps in with both feet and doesn’t take crap from Hayes. She’s English and a former army nurse who has traveled extensively. She is supposed to keep Hayes in line, but ends up doing more in bringing answers to the table, than both Hayes and Garvey combined. The Company Man is one of the creepiest books you will find, with alternative technology that will make even science fiction lovers stand up and take notice. This is Bennett’s second book after Mr. Shivers, which I have not read. The characters aren’t perfect, but in this reality you would expect that they would all have some faults.I did have many qualms about The Company Man as I was reading it, but eventually things do work themselves out, and the ending is as interesting as you will find, but it also left me wanting to know more about Hayes future. My only problem was that one of the main characters doesn’t make it to the end. Call it a sort of betrayal by those this person trusted with his life. Yes, there is a romantic interlude between the characters, but it’s not all hot and bothered like UF and PNR novels.Publishers releases 04/11/2011

  • Molybdenum
    2018-09-29 18:23

    The interesting thing about Robert Jackson Bennett is that even though he starts in such different places for all his books, he always seems to end up in the same place. There's a big grandiose ending that redefines the shape of the world his characters live in, with the purpose of trying to solve some deep problem that the world has.In this book, Bennett is tackling addictions and self-destruction. It comes up many times throughout the book in many different places, but the only time I recall the word addictions being used is about the main character Haynes. Here's the quote: "No, Mr Haynes," said Brightly. "You are a man of addictions. And some of your addictions go far beyond any chemical or bottle. You want to chase Tazz the same way a drunkard needs his tankard. It's simply another exciting little diversion for you, isn't it?"And addictions keep showing up. We have a man who cannot control himself in regards to his night time activities, where he seeks out a place specializing in little boys. We have an officer who will not leave the city, who feels it is his duty to fix it, despite the fact it is too much for one man. These are not the people Bennett is concerned about. He relates the self-destructive nature of humans through the relationship between a company and its union.If you were to pick one of those sides that I thought best described self-destructive, I would go with unions. Oftentimes, they demand things from their company that the company that the company simply can't afford, and in doing so drive the company under. (They can also be beneficial, as of course there are times were a company can mistreat its workers. I'm not completely anti-union or anything.) But in this case, since we have a company that is basically the very centre of its city (think Ford in Detroit), the self-destructive onus is put on the company. Through their greed they are destroying the city, and in doing so themselves. There are grand statements being made here about capatalism, the human condition, and the ultimate human fate.This is maybe not the most original of Bennett's metaphors. I much prefer the way The Troupe metaphors the nothingness that surrounds human existence and the need to combat that. But it is probably his most enticing narrative. The story isn't perfect, it can wane a little at times, and it still probably isn't good enough that it can stand without the metaphor behind it, but it is an entertaining enough read. Once again, if you like the allegory style of story telling, Bennett is really good at it, and this book is no exception.

  • Tony
    2018-09-25 17:22

    I have to admit, this book's gumshoe pulp fiction-style cover art caught my attention immediately. And once I skimmed the jacket copy and realized that it had a science-fiction element to it, I was hooked. The story takes place in 1919, in a world where a single company based on the coast of Washington State has developed leading technology in every field important to mankind. From airships to advanced weaponry to wireless transmitters, the McNaughton Corporation is powerful enough to direct the course of nation-states. An entire metropolis has risen around its humble initial facilities, and Evesden is now the largest city in the world.However, despite the untold power and wealth residing in the company, the city has a seedy and destitute side to it. And down those dark streets walks the company's odd fixer Cyril Hayes. He possesses the power to create a kind of telepathic bond with anyone he spends time with, eventually being able to charm them and more or less read their thoughts. In the past he's ferreted out industrial spies and secret-sellers, and now he's trying to figure out both how and why a trolly car of eleven unionists pulled into a station with everyone on board completely slaughtered. Helping him is his new organizer/researcher/librarian/assistant, Ms. Fairbanks, and together with Cyril's policeman friend, Detective Garvey, they form a very odd heroic trio.Unfortunately, about halfway through, the inventiveness starts to wear thin on the book, and the supernatural element starts to become more and more prominent. The mystery of the union murders starts to shift into a kind of X-Files conspiracy and before too long, the hint of alien mumbo-jumbo starts to poke though. I definitely started to lose enthusiasm for the book as the science-fiction elements grew more and more prominent, and by the end I was close to just skimming to see how things turned out. Cyril is the one really interesting character, by turns cantankerous and crafty, and his telepathic ability is described and handled really well. Some of the supporting characters, like his boss, and an underworld contact, come across vividly on the page, but his friend Garvey and assistant Fairbanks are both kind of cardboard types.The writing has a very rich visual style to it, and to a certain extent I wonder if the story might have worked better in a more visual medium, like a graphic novel, or a film. Still, if you like offbeat crime stories or real-world based science fiction, or genre-blending of the two, this might be worth your time to check out.

  • David Rush
    2018-09-27 18:41

    Until I was invited to an author reading at the local Barnes and Noble, I had never heard of Robert Jackson Bennett. I checked him out online and what I found piqued my interest enough to read one of his novels before the event. I got the invitation on Sunday and the reading was on Wednesday so in the interest of time I bought a kindle edition of The Company Man on Sunday. I am not sure why I picked that one over the other 2 or 3 I saw, but it worked out well as I had a good time reading the book. He mixed genres that I like and struck emotional and storytelling chords that resonated with me. That said for some reason I don’t go overboard in my praise which I sometimes do after an enjoyable reading experience (which this was). I am probably unfair, but my mind (that tricky little devil) did sometimes identify the genre strands a little too precisely. I thought I could label the Philip Marlowe character, the HP Lovecraft section and even the Sookie Stackhouse seasoning. So it is probably unfair, after all there are plenty of hard boiled detectives that came after Marlow and Sookie certainly wasn’t the first character to be overwhelmed by telepathic overload, and who hasn’t imagined some ancient entity buried in the earth's depths. But that is just how my mind worked and even with that occasional distraction I had a good time. On a side note I wonder if literary people debate where genre turns into cliché? Maybe that is what tripped me up, I wasn’t quite sure if the story was getting a little too close to this possible line. In any case, I bought his new book at the reading and got it signed and it if it wasn’t quite so long I might have jumped right in. But I thought The Company Man was definitely good enough to encourage me to read another Bennett novel.The Wordspace Dallas ( reading event was small but pleasant and those Wordspace people asked some kick-ass questions which got some great answers from the author. I didn’t ask anything since any question I had would have been something juvenile like “What does the ending of your book mean?” So it was better that I kept quiet.

  • Charles Dee Mitchell
    2018-10-01 16:41

    Publisher's Weekly described Bennett's fist novel, Mr. Shivers, as a cross between John Steinbeck and Stephen King. It won the Shirley Jackson award, and so the King elements must have won out for panel of experts. This new novel, The Company Man has been nominated for the 2011 Philip k> Dick award, but it has the same uneasy relation to genre as its predecessor. Mr. Shivers was an engaging tale set in the Great Depression and among the hobo jungles and squalid, half-dead towns of the period. And then there was also the serial killer who turned out to be an evil from before the time of man. The Company Man is alternative history but not of the elaborate or tricky sort. The South has not won the Civil War, the Axis has lost WW11, and there are no armor-plated dinosaurs fighting doughboys. One simple, history-changing event has happened. An industrialist, Mr. Mc Naughton, while on a hunting trip in the Pacific Northwest, has been rained-in the wilderness. His host turns out to be an inventor of amazing propensity. Over the years. Mc.Naughton Industries controls world technology. The thought of their weapon power prevents WW1, and they build on the Pacific Northwest Coast of America the magnificent city of Evendsen. Problems arise.Evendsen is city where the dichotomies between rich and poor are so extreme that some readers may be inclined to find it familiar, although contemporary correlations are never encouraged, All that is is stressed is that something is going very wrong. Our protagonists are a hard-working police detective, a psychic private investigator, and a young, brainy female recruit. What they find moves the novel into the realm of SF, although Bennett's strong point remains, as in Mr. Shivers his ability to create accurately detailed period scenes that keep you entertained and slightly uneasy.

  • Rusty
    2018-10-23 16:35

    Cyril Hayes is just one man who works for McNaughton but he's an alcoholic and addicted to drugs. His drug of choice is opium which he uses to drown out the impressions and thoughts that invade his mind. Yes, Hayes is unique among men. His mind can hear the thoughts of others who are close to him and the longer he is close to anyone the more he knows about them. It's driving him crazy but that talent is why McNaughton recruited him. His only friend and confidante is Garvey, a policeman with idealistic goals.As Hayes' downward spiral increases his supervisor decides he needs someone to organize his work. That someone is Samantha, an incredibly talented researcher and organizer. The company wants her to control Hayes but can he be controlled? The corporation and much of the world's talented people are located in Evesden, a progressive city which spawns wonders that control much of what occurs in the world. However, Hayes believes that something is terribly wrong either in the world or inside McNaughton. The story develops at a rapid rate. People die for unknown reasons and secrets abound within McNaughton. Are they healthy or not? Workers are organizing a union to protest lowered wages and unsafe working conditions. Is the union becoming violent. I found this fast paced book exciting and unable to put aside. It's a science fiction mystery that I totally enjoyed and recommend highly.

  • Cindy Crawford
    2018-09-28 16:29

    Good book, with an interesting mix of genres,sort of a mystery noir in an alternate reality. The "company man" fits the noir detective role--a mysterious addict who does his own thing and isn't always on the same side as the law, but who knows more and is smarter than the law. He has a friend who is a policeman, and a new assistant who is a female trying to make her own career. The three get involved in solving several murders, and the victims are all engaged in the union movement, which the company doesn't want.The company is an all powerful corporation based on the inventions of one man, and the selling ability of another. What we learn in the book is that they weren't inventions at all. They were discoveries, bits and pieces of a sentient alien technology that crashed to earth years ago. That's where the book lost me just a bit. That almost felt like too much--before that I was completely engaged with the characters and the mystery, and with the not-so-subtle commentary on large multinational corporations that have almost total power. In some ways, learning that the company itself was based on finding alien technology seemed to take away from the condemnation of a world that places company profit ahead of human life.The ending seemed open to another book, so maybe there's a sequel planned. If so, I'd read it.

  • Mike Maurer
    2018-10-21 19:15

    Robert Jackson Bennett envisions a world where World War I didn't happen due to the existence of a single company. Think of a high tech company as the first of the robber barons of the guilded age. With technology so far ahead of anything else on the planet, they keep the peace in the name of commerce.A neat premise. The main character, Hayes, is a fixer for the company. He has a talent with people. His only friend is a cop who is one of the few good people on the force. The setting is the capital city of the company, on the Washington state coast. The mystery of what is below the streets and the contrast between those that inhabit the city drives the book. I found most of it quite intriguing. I like the author's use of descriptive language to bring forth the despair within the city. It only bogged down near the end, as the plot solved itself with a quick twist. Almost as if he reached a hard page count and needed to tie things up. The book is filled with shades of gray. From the characters to the settings. I liked it and will look for other books from the author, just to experience the atmosphere he conjures.

  • Gaby
    2018-10-09 21:18

    Mmmm, bueno, para empezar, el darle una puntuación a este libro me es muy difícil porque ni siquiera estoy segura de a qué género pertenece. El libro comienza casi como una crónica policial, rodeada de crímenes extraños y mucho misterio. A medida que la historia avanza, el protagonista principal comienza a mostrar nuevas facetas, llevando a la historia más hacia un contexto fantástico (lo cual me gustó mucho hasta ese momento, porque la trama tenía el potencial para llegar a ser muy buena). Los personajes se relacionan bien, la ambientación es adecuada... pero la trama se vuelve más y más confusa. Se termina buscando una explicación increíblemente fantástica que no encaja con el resto de la historia. Lo que empezó como un misterio policial/investigación del crimen organizado, termina siendo una historia de ciencia ficción a primera vista infundada y muy pero muy confusa.En general, este libro se dejó leer, pero pasadas los 2/3 de su contenido, tuve que obligarme a mí misma a terminarlo. Y al final me dejó una sola pregunta dando vuelvas: WHAAAAAAT????Mi impresión general: Confusión.

  • Wayne McCoy
    2018-10-01 19:37

    Set in an alternate world where mysterious technology has made the wilderness of Puget Sound the center of the world, The Company Man is a wonderful noir tale. The strange city of Evesden, Washington glitters with marvels, but underneath it's surface, all is not right. When an unknown man is pulled from the waters near the city, the police are baffled. One of them has a connection with a man working for the McNaughton Corporation. Since the victim appears to be a union man, the police look to him for help.Cyril Hayes is the company man, and he has a strange gift that causes him to be unstable, so a young protege is hired to keep him on track. Through a series of interviews with suspects, a different story emerges. Before further questioning can be done, an even more shocking crime is committed which threatens to unravel the entire city.The book is set in (I think) the 20s, and there are inventions and gadgets galore, but they don't deter from solid pacing and memorable characters.

  • This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
    2018-10-12 22:14

    Company man is a tricky book to categorize. It's an alternate history mystery with some steampunk elements (although I personally wouldn't call it steampunk) and science fiction overtones.The story takes place in a northwestern coastal city of the US in 1919/1920; this city does not exist in the real world but is the center of technology and innovation in this alternate world and is essentially run by *the* technological giant of the planet. The story is focused on a security employee for The Company who has unique ways of gathering information.Overall, the story is fairly interesting and moves through a lot of politics and conflict between management and workers and police and corruption. The biggest flaw is toward the end. There is a big twist which was well built up and not unexpected. It is followed by a second twist that simply didn't work well and sets up a disappointing and lackluster ending. It was a shame that a book doing so well stumbled to the finish.

  • arjuna
    2018-10-09 16:19

    Thoroughly enjoyable - well put together, vividly written, interesting characters. Similar in some ways to the books of George Mann (particularly the period aspect/indie female assistant unfazed by Strange Male Maverick etc) but that's largely superficial (and I found Bennett's writing more to my liking, on the whole). Great premise (there's a lot to live up to) and it actually manages to carry it off to the bitter end, marvellously credibly. I really, really like the main characters, and would love to see more about any of them. I'd read any damn thing he cared to call a sequel, should it eventuate; come to that I'd read the back of a matchbox if Bennett penned the text. Definitely one of my favourites so far this year.

  • Melber
    2018-10-02 20:20

    Evesden in the 1920's appears to be a thriving city built on the blood and sweat of the McNaughton Corporation. For years, McNaughton's mysterious innovations has driven the city's political, social and economic structures. But the corporation comes under scrutiny when Hayes, with his powers to read the people around him, works with an Evesden police office and a McNaughton Company employee to discover who is behind a string of union murders. The answer is found in machinery that stretches conventional beliefs. Although there is a Helprin/Gaiman'esqe feel to Bennett's novels, he is a unique writer. "The Company Man" blends a bit of history with the supernatural to teach a heavy moral by the end of the book.