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The Company Man

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  732 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
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 car
Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 11th 2011 by Orbit (first published October 23rd 2009)
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May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's funny how things come together sometimes, isn't it? I was keeping an eye out for Bennett's newest book when I discovered his sophomore book, a noir-magical realism kind of thing. I'd also been reading Lost New York and browsing my way through NYC Public Library's online photo collection, enjoying the feel of times gone past in the big city. Then on Facebook, someone posted a link of new Youtube video, speed-corrected and sound-added to footage from a 1911 Swedish documentary in NYC:

Chris Matney
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 seconda
Apr 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 bubb ...more
Blood Rose Books
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 bus
Matt Garcia
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 corporatio
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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 Ameri ...more
Jaime Moyer
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
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 with
Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 de ...more
Jeremy Hurd-McKenney
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 w ...more
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
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:
Apr 09, 2011 marked it as tried-but-not-for-me
another well reviewed book that has a combination of so-so content as interest goes and unremarkable style to grab me
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Luckily, I started with Bennett’s City of Stairs trilogy. I loved those books, and American Elsewhere . This novel, not so much. It’s basically (view spoiler). Also, it was dreadfully in need of editing. If you’re going to attempt a hardboiled mystery, you should hew to the spare writing style of such novels. Streamlined.
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Teodor Spæren
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
It was a good book, with some interesting characters.
Victor Sanchez
Jun 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
Tedious and dry.
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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! (

I 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 en
Jan 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-releases
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
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 t
Jun 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
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 ...more
David Rush
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
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 boo
Charles Dee Mitchell
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 idea ...more
Cindy Crawford
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Maurer
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 capit
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Gaby by: the book smuglers
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).
Wayne McCoy
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 hi
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Robert Jackson Bennett is a two-time award winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, an Edgar Award winner for Best Paperback Original, and is also the 2010 recipient of the Sydney J Bounds Award for Best Newcomer, and a Philip K Dick Award Citation of Excellence. His fifth novel, City of Stairs, is in stores now.

He lives in Austin with his wife and son. He can be found on Twitter at @ro
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