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 his injuries he finds out that the truth is far more complex and far more terrifying.
Inducted into a shadowy government organization gathered together to fight an invasion by the offspring of unfathomable creatures from beyond our universe Arthur Wallace finds himself in situations both dangerous and profoundly strange. Wallace’s grossly underfunded new place of employment is staffed by a handful of quirky misfits including the geeky magician Clyde whose magic is powered by batteries and energy conducted along surgically implanted copper wire; gothy antagonistic Tabitha; the antisocial, cantankerous and sword-wielding scottswoman Kayla and a pair of strange, aquatic, clairvoyant twins who provide cyptic riddles that hint at the Progeny’s plans. Wood packs his novel with a humorous punch thanks particularly to Wallace’s wry borderline deadpan observations on his new-found coworkers and new experiences with the otherworldly. It works well for No Hero providing some much-needed levity during rather grim situations.
No Hero’s MI37 is a well blended mish-mash of X-Files, Torchwood and the Men in Black at times focusing on the deadly seriousness seen in the X-Files but not afraid to veer closer to the humor seen in the latter. Wood accurately captures the notion that secret government group was once more powerful than it once was but that its waning influence is most assuredly marked by a reduction in the threat it was founded to protect against. The protagonists of No Hero have to save the world with very little help from the government that supports them making our heroes including Wallace sort of the underdogs in the whole affair. This is an excellent start to a new series and fans of action and horror that would do Big Trouble in Little China proud should jump into No Hero as soon as possible.