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No Hero (Arthur Wallace #1)

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  350 ratings  ·  74 reviews
"What would Kurt Russell do?" Oxford police detective Arthur Wallace asks himself that question a lot. Because Arthur is no hero. He's a good cop, but prefers that action and heroics remain on the screen, safely performed by professionals. But then, secretive government agency MI12 comes calling, hoping to recruit Arthur in their struggle against the tentacled horrors from ...more
Kindle Edition
Published July 1st 2011 by Night Shade Books (first published June 21st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,192)
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Dan Schwent
Homicide cop Arthur Wallace gets recruited by British intelligence agency MI37 and plunged into a secret war against alien horrors called the Progeny. But one member of his team is a mole and is actually working to bring the unspeakable cosmic horror known as the Feeders into our reality...

This book was almost good. Let's examine the good points first before I tear it a new orifice.
- The core concept was well thought out. I love the idea of neighboring realities and horrible maggot like things t
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
Pretty darn strange, but fun and fascinating dark urban fantasy with lots of elements that would appeal to Lovecraft fans, and to those who don't mind a good dose of cosmic horrors and tentacles. Throw in a lot of action and British humor ala Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), and you have a good combination. I liked it quite a bit.

Reviewed for Bitten by Books.

Zachary Jernigan
OBJECTIVE RATING (my best stab at looking at the book's merits, regardless of whether or not I enjoyed it all that much): 4

PERSONAL RATING (how much the book "worked" for me personally): 4

Do you like fun?


Okay. Don't read this.
Qwill / The Qwillery
No Hero is essentially a book about an ordinary man trying to grapple with the unfathomable. Arthur Wallace is a police detective in Oxford, England going about the business of solving crimes when he becomes involved in something extraordinary. He’s then recruited by M137, an understaffed British government agency that deals with the Progeny and their threat to Earth. The Progeny are tentacled nightmares from another dimension. They are Lovecraftian in their creepiness. While they are presently ...more
I would consider any horror novel beginning with its main character asking himself “What would Kurt Russel do?” to be well worth my attention. Thankfully, Jonathan Wood’s No Hero manages to back up his grin inducing first lines with a solid story full of interesting characters and an exciting, if somewhat bleak, world. In No Hero, Oxford police officer Arthur Wallace has a near fatal encounter with a sword wielding woman seemingly responsible for several murders across town. As he recovers from ...more
Now this is a good one.
The premise reminds me very much of Charles Stross's Laundry novels: underfunded British secret department using magic to protect our world from Lovecraftian horrors. Stross's is nerdier, because the main character/narrator is a programmer, whereas here the main character/narrator is a police detective who watches too many action movies and is drawn into the secret department when he's too good at his job. Stross's is also more of a satire on British bureaucracy, whereas t
Received through NetGalley from Night Shade Books

This was an awkward book.
On one side there is humour, there are distinct British accents and swear words, crazy dialogues, bunch of ditzy characters who look amazingly comical thrown together as a team of super agents: indecisive Arthur, nerdy magician Clyde, who pops AA batteries like there is no tomorrow, gothic and tattoed Tabitha, the researcher, Kayla, - manic depressive super Scottswoman with a sword...

Some of the descriptions also ma
They're not quite Lovecraft's eldritch horrors from beyond, but the foes that poor Arthur Wallace - once a detective, now an agent for the underfunded anti-reality-destruction MI37 - has to face are equally mind-bending, terrifying, and utterly alien.

Punchy dialogue, zipping action, and strong characters make this a very fast, very enjoyable read, especially for those who don't mind having a LOT of exposition thrown at them. In fact, NO HERO could be a textbook case for "how to infodump without
Well... the book was okay. I think part of my problem might be with the whole Lovecraft/Cthulhu thing, because let's face it, when massive tentacled old gods come play, I'd rather just abandon the monkey bars and let them do their thing. You can't really win against that kind of big bad, and I find that I either can't be upset that everyone fails, or I feel it's trite to let the little guys win. It's really lose/lose for me.

That said, the characters are interesting and likable but not entirely f
While reading this one I kept thinking I wanted our "not a hero" to stop acting so much like a teenager. But of course there's no guarantee I would have like the book as much if he had been some rough and tumble Bruce Willis or "The Rock" type.

I couldn't decide if I wanted to give this 3 stars or 4, so I went with 3.5 and then rounded up since goodreads only does whole stars.
C Keith
Excellent action-adventure with Cthuluesque creatures from other dimensions and a somewhat plausible magic system.

Much like a Charlie Stross "Laundry" novel -- being British, and having an underfunded secret UK government agency determined to protect our reality.

Jim Gavin
Interesting take on the "secret world" concept marred by a hopeless beta-male character who seems more like an introverted IT specialist than a veteran homicide detective. He is truly "No Hero" from beginning to end, down to the climactic battle scene where he stands by impotently while all his teammates save the day. What growth he does have is in too long of an arc so that it carries past the book and by the end he still seemed miles away from being someone the reader would want to read about ...more
Khairul H.
At the time of writing this review, it looks like I'm the only one who was really disappointed with this book. No other 1-star reviews that I can see.

I love the premise; magic, Lovecraftian-horror, secret underfunded government agency fighting a secret war against said horror. What's not to love? Well, the protagonist for one. I can't root for him. He's supposed to be a veteran cop but he doesn't act like one. Rushes in without thinking (which makes things worse) and misses clues right and left.
This was a solid read and one of my favorite types of book, paranormal/fantasy with plenty of humor. Think Terry Pratchett, Ben Aaronovitch, or Charles Stross's Laundry Series, and you're on the right track.

No Hero follows Arthur Wallace, an Oxford (UK) policeman who's very much obsessed with Kurt Russell and only slightly less so with his beautiful blond partner. In the course of one of his investigations, Arthur stumbles across an alien conspiracy with dire consequences for mankind, and quicke
Originally posted at:

No Hero actually escaped my attention when it was first released by Titan Books, it is that I saw the release of the sequel, Yesterday's Hero, which is out later this year that I found out that it was the second book in the Arthur Wallace series. Reading the synopsis of No Hero promised a lot of fun, last year I had the pleasure to read Guy Adams' The Clown Service which also goes about a secret service agency set in England, but this
David Caldwell
A London police detective is chasing a serial killer. His investigation will lead him into a secret world of secret government agencies and aliens from other dimensions that want to literally eat our world. While he is a highly competent police detective(who gets most of his action from watching way too many movies), he is definitely over his head when facing aliens.

I like this type of story. The everyman finding out that there is more to the world and trying to deal with it without losing his m
Michael Harrison
Wood's premise, of a second-rate British secret service that uses supernatural powers to keep the Lovecraftian monstrosities at bay, is already something I'd sign up for alone. Add to it the droll wit and action-packed set pieces, and it's just a roisterous, fun romp through Lovecraftian horror and supernatural noir.

The main character of No Hero is Arthur Wallace, a cop who loves a good action movie and looks up to Kurt Russell's over-the-top antics in movies like Big Trouble in Little China. Th
Karen M
This is one of those “how do I begin” reviews. I guess I could say this is a science fiction book with lots of action, monsters, flawed heroes, but that’s not really saying enough.

Picture Invasion of the Body Snatchers, War of the Worlds, a bit of magic from Harry Potter, exotic evil bad guys from a James Bond novel and definitely include action film star Kurt Russell who gets referenced a lot and now you’re starting to get what this book is about. It’s about all of the above and none of the ab
Read Ng
Similar to the Harry Potter world, the world you and I live in is actually also shared with and alternate world full of strange and mysterious beings that do not share our reality. It's very fun and exciting to explore a world that does not obey the physical rules we know. This is the first in a series of our hero, Arthur Wallace in what has great potential. I'm not so sure of Wallace's personal obsession the Kurt Russell (as described in the dust jacket synopsis), but I have to also admit it wa ...more
I enjoyed this book. Occasionally the plotlines were a little predictable, but the characters made up for it. Arthur is a classic British everyman out of his depth, but rises to the occasion by the end of the book. Some other reviewers said they disliked how passive he was, but I thought it was realistic. No one would be thrown into a Lovecraftian horror story and suddenly become a badass, even if they had some experience as a cop. I also liked that he mentions his sense of wonder a few times--j ...more
Wendy Wagner
If Jasper Fforde read too much Lovecraft one night, he might have written this book. A tasty blend of humor and horror.
T. Hodges
Entertaining. I read it during a 9 hour car ride.

Negative: At times the plot moved too fast and I had trouble following how some clues lead from one conclusion to the next. This didn't really take away from the story as it had a more Men in Black feel then it did Sherlock Holmes.

Positive: I laughed out loud more then a few times at clever statements. These are what you should really read for, very entertaining. No action shortage and plenty of creativity. The book is worth getting into a bit, th
Overall, I'd give this book 3.5 stars out of four; my feelings fell somewhere between "liked it" and "really liked it". But since half stars aren't allowed, I'm rounding up.

This book had a lot going for it. I've read a good bit of urban fantasy -- some of the Dresden books, early Anita Blake novels, and Kim Harrison's Hallows series, among others -- and the main reason I don't read the genre much these days is because it all started to feel very cookie cutter to me: similar plots, similar threat
was intrigued by the imaginative mind of Wood. A secret agency of misfits working to keep our world protected against invading hostile parasitic aliens from an alternate reality. Our hero, Arthur Wallace, is an English detective trying to solve some bizarre serial killings. As the investigation continues, Arthur becomes part of a team composed of: a tattooed goth computer research genius named Tabitha; Clyde, the socially awkward scientist turned magic user that puts AA batteries in his mouth to ...more
Fairly well written paranormal thriller. However, some clunky grammar had me re-reading in several places to make sense of what was being said.

For a change, it was refreshing to read end-of-the-world paranormal action in the sedate setting of Oxford rather than the usual American ho-hum. I enjoyed the dry British humour and the somewhat over-the-top characters blend in well with the apocalyptic events that transpire.

I'm really, really glad Clyde had a 'restore game' option! Kurt Russell would c
Having read Jonathan Wood's The Nyarlathotep Event when serialised it last summer, I was reasonably sure I would enjoy No Hero. I am pleased to say I was right. No Hero is a quick read, in that you're likely to finish it quickly because it is not easy to put it down for very long. Wonderfully imaginative, and shot through with equal parts humour and Lovecraftian horror, No Hero pulls you along with Agent Wallace and his team as they battle the ultimate evil of the universe, and its le ...more
Good, solid UF adventure with an 80's action movie feel. Great bad guys. Fan-flippin'-tastic and original magic system. Weird, wild world that Wood has created. A great cast of characters that you want to spend time with. Mind-bending conclusion. And on top of that? It's a fun read. Action, drama, and fun. It's got it all.

I love, love the way these characters talk--I almost don't need a plot in a future sequel, just let these people talk over coffee in a Seinfeld-esque cafe. (tho' I'd prefer a p
Mitch Goodkin
Ethereal parasitic mind-worms and interdimensional fiends bent on destroying our Universe. An Oxford based secret agency. And a police detective thrown into the middle of it who keeps asking himself, "What would Kurt Russell do ?"

To be honest, with that mix, nothing could be bad !

Can't wait to read the sequel coming out some time in September 2014.
Troy Wilson
Excellent! This was a book that was fun and action packed. It was filled with interesting characters and witty dialogue. I loved it! I'm moving on to the next book, now. I look forward to more 'Hero" books.
An enjoyable urban fantasy set in Oxford, England. when detective Arthur Wallace catches a killer in the act the last thing he expects is to find himself suddenly dragged into an interdimensional war with tenticled monsters from space. Wallace is far from an action hero and only has the movies of his favourite actor Kirt Russell as guide. Not the best guide really... I don't think this is the best urban fantasy I've read and Wallace probably isn't totally convicincing as a top notch detective. H ...more
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