Book Review – The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett

Review of: The Company Man
Robert Jackson Bennett

Reviewed by:
On 2015-05-19
Last modified:2015-05-19


The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett

The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett

The blurb mystiques:

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 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.

I’m a fan noir and SF and I especially like the combination of the two.  The blurb doesn’t mention SF but some reviews I’d read did so I was expecting it.

I don’t think this is really a classical noir book – it doesn’t hold too tightly to the formula, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.  Books that follow formulas are predictable, and I think that leads to stagnation of the genre.

Instead of just being a mix of noir and SF, the book was more of a journey – it started off noir but ended SF (via alternate history).  The blurb only really mentions the noir part, so only describes the first part of the book.

The love triangle was interesting because (again) it didn’t straightforwardly follow a formula.

Some of the mysteries were a bit obvious and some of them had too many clues dropped, but several major ones were good reveals.

The ending wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been.  Given the author’s eschewing of formulas I didn’t really expect everything to be wrapped up in a nice bow at the end of the book, but it wasn’t a really satisfying open ending either.