Book Reviews

The Dead Gentleman

Author: Matthew Cody

Genre: Steampunk, Action, Adventure

POV: alternates between 1st and 3rd person

Summary: Attention, thieves, scoundrels, and fearless adventures. The Dead Gentleman is a wild ride between parallel New York City timestreams 1901 and today. Eleven-year-old Tommy Learner is a street orphan and an unlikely protégé of the Explorers, a secret group dedicated to exploring portals, the hidden doorways to other worlds. But in the basement of an old hotel, his world collides with that of modern-day Jezebel Lemon. 


“The closet in the dark room-there are monsters in there. The space under the stairs is bigger than the space above it and people do disappear at home and feel eyes watching you-those are real, too. An overgrown garden’s never just an overgrown garden and an old basement’s never just an old basement.” – The Dead Gentleman, Pg. 26

The writing doesn’t go too deeply in world building but, still leaves you awestruck of the idea of a secret society of explores going through portals and exploring strange worlds. It gets straight to the point of the plot.

I know writers can get sidetracked when writing a stylized world such as steampunk. They get so detail in the world that the characters and plot crumble apart. The Dead Gentlemen doesn’t fall into that trap. However it feel like there should be more.

everything steampunk. It subtle and doesn’t go overbroad with the stylized. At first, I wasn’t too knee on the idea of the Nautilus being in the book. It been in way too many books then it needs to be. I soon warm up to the idea when they went to the hollow world. I realize this is a well done tip of the hat to Jules Verne.


Tommy: Left on the streets to defend for himself. Has the mind set of actin now, think later. It what kept him alive for so long.

Johnathan Scott: An old Captain of the Nautilus. Yes, that Nautilus. Keeps to his nonsensical ways of shouting at a crew that not there.

Jezebel (Jez): Lives in modern day New York. Jez would continue live her life as if strange events didn’t happen at the wrong time. Jez will often think thing through but in the line of defense act quickly.

I like how each character comment off one another. Their strength and weakness go well with each other coinventing me that they can work together as a team.

The villain is portrayed as menacing and it is delivers well. The Dead Gentleman doesn’t make a full appearance for most of the book. He only briefly decrepit and talk about him are in hush whispers. Basely he the boogie man. The monster under the bed. That way when sleeping you don’t hang your hand over the side of the bed, for he might reach out with those cold hands and grab you.

Since the writing is to the point it leaves out some plot details. Like when Tommy goes looking for Scott at the explorer’s academy, how did they get pass the grave walkers? I know they get out fine but, how do they make it to the Nautilus?

I would like to know more about this world and the Explorers Society. To be flush out more in greater detail. Maybe this can get turn into a series.

I know most MG end in a hopeful tone. To me what stand out is that the ending is open to being hopeful. Jezebel and Tommy are going off on an adventure that made or made not end well.

Books similar to this: 
Cog and the Steel Tower – A lesser known book much like the DG only heavy on the steampunk world building. One of the few books that balances character, plot, and world build really well.

Smudge’s Mark by Claudia Osmond – This book can take place in the same world as the Dead Gentleman. The Imaginarium Geographica series by James A. Owen – Gives the idea that all fictional works come from one place.

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