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[ Free eBook ] The Company Man Author Robert Jackson Bennett –

The Year Is 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 OfferBut 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 UnionNow, 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

10 thoughts on “The Company Man

  1. says:

    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 sopho 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 I picked up The Company Man, I was than primed to imagine Bennett s story set in the 1919, in an alternate timeline where the city Evesden, in Washington state, becomes one of the greatest cities in America through the miraculous inventions of the McNaughton Corporation.Hayes is one of the security men of the great corporation, who uses a kind of patterning sixth sense to troubleshoot issues for the company Unfortunately, Hayes has a bit of a drinking problem And an opium pipe problem The last job he did ended up in a publicity disaster, so his only way back into good graces is to take on a job looking for union men within the company, indirectly supervised and aided by Samantha Garvey is a NYC Evesden detective who cares too much as he tries to solve various murders There s been a steady increase in the murder rate, which takes a serious jump when eleven people are found dead in a trolley car.In many ways, it feels similar to The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead Both take a city setting that feels almost familiar, then give it fantastic elements that allow the authors to explore different ideas in the setting of progress In Bennett s case, ideas about economics, and in Whitehead s, ideas about race It also feels a little similar to A Winter s Tale by Mark Helprin, although far interesting Bennett s writing is evocative, and his description of the city makes it come alive, albeit in a somewhat dismal way I can see the inkling of the writer who would go on to create the Divine Cities trilogy I loved so much Deep in the twisting bowels of Dockland the city did not sleep As the distant spotlights flickered on the markets stirred and came to life, gathering in dimly lit rooms and doorways and alley entrances Smoke tumbled across the tent covers and turned the voices of the barkers and the tradesmen into coarse growls, barely human over the din and clatter of trade Hayes moved among them all like a ghost, weaving through the weak points of the crowds He was riding a mean drunk and he had forgotten his coat somewhere and his scarf was stuffed down the front of his shirt, which was only half buttoned He tried to keep his senses about him As always, I enjoy Bennett s writing, the description and the flow I think it s less polished than his work in the Divine Cities, but the evocative imagery is there.The balance between human characters, the McNaughton Corp as a character and the city as a character is perhaps somewhat off, particularly as it is hard to identify with a corporation or a city Perhaps the largest issue is pacing Like American Elsewhere, this has a slow build, almost a prequel to the meat of the story that introduces characters and city The trolley murders, mentioned on the jacket as if they are the driver of the story, don t happen until a hundred pages in, give or take I think he builds the story somewhat slowly, but well.Unfortunately, the story goes a bit off the rails at the end But maybe it doesn t according to other reviews, it picked up a lot Oh sure, it does do that I likely would have forgiven it, but Bennett becomes extremely heavy handed with the moralizing in a bit of eye rolling dialogue In many ways, I think the structure of the book feels similar to American Elsewhere, with a completely different setting modern southwest versus 1920s steampunk , so for those who had patience with that would likely enjoy this On the whole, though, I d say it s impressive for a sopho book.Three and a half stars, rounding up because it really was a enjoyable read than my average three star.

  2. says:

    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 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 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.

  3. says:

    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 Mi ville 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 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

  4. says:

    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 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 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 police work and becoming 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 , so I think I will be picking up Mr Shivers or his next book sometime soon.Enjoy

  5. says:

    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.

  6. says:

    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.

  7. says:

    This book was like reading a film noir, which was very enjoyable Read this for book club, not something I would have picked out on my own most likely I did get a little lost in the plot at some points during this book and there were parts that felt a bit unnecessary I think this could have easily been shorter I kind of wanted to know about the unions and their goals and what they were doing to achieve them, etc, as opposed to just knowing that there were unions and they were fighting with the big evil corporation The ending was.meh It is definitely a genre blender, and that is cool but also made the ending a bit strange.

  8. says:

    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 d nouement 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 .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

  9. says:

    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 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 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 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.

  10. says:

    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 in the future.