Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Whatcha Reading? Bob Moore: No Hero by Tom Andry

Tom Andry is joining us today to give us the scoop on his debut book Bob Moore: No Hero.  I first saw this book come up as a Free Read on Smashwords and it has been racking up some great reviews in the short time since it was released.  It is now available on multiple venues. I read the first chapter and was intrigued enough that I asked Tom to stop by and tell us more about his book. 

Bob Moore: No Hero
by Tom Andry
Super powered humans started appearing 30 years ago. Now, they are everywhere. Bob Moore, Private Eye, dares to investigate those who could incinerate him with a thought. When he is called to help a super from his past, however, he'll be pushed to his limit. When supers and the police think there is no crime, can he get to the truth? Will he want to for the man that destroyed his marriage?

What’s the basic premise of Bob Moore: No Hero?
Bob Moore is a non-powered private eye in a world full of super-powered humans. Supers started showing up about 30 years ago and have become more and more prevalent. Now they have their own government, their own country (it's borderless but it is theirs) and they pretty much run the world. Bob? Well, he doesn't much like supers. He is one of the few that specializes in investigating them. He stays alive through a few defensive gadgets and by keeping one step ahead of the supers.

In No Hero, Bob is hired by a super to investigate a series of reported disappearances. No one, not even the cops or the other supers, believes there was any crime. Problem is, this super and Bob have a history. When supers and the police think there is no crime, can he get to the truth? Will he want to for the man that destroyed his marriage?

Who is the audience for this story?
I find this to be a hard question. The themes in Bob are a bit serious but there isn't much cursing and really very little sexual material at all. I'm 39 and I wrote it so that I'd enjoy it. I don't enjoy reading about sex so I don't write it. In fact, the excerpt below is the raciest part of No Hero. It wasn't tailored for any specific age group but I'd think it would be fine for 16 and up. I've had a number of people from all the way up to 60+ comment that they enjoyed it even though it is not the sort of thing they normally read.

What inspired the idea for this book?
I was on the phone with an aspiring webcomic who was telling me about his most recent project. He asked me if I'd ever considered writing a webcomic (he knows I can't draw). I hadn't but said if I did it'd probably be about... and came up with the basic premise of Bob on the spot. As I say at the end of No Hero, after reading a bunch of free eBooks I decided to write one. The first idea I had that included an entire story was Bob. After having a couple of false starts at novels, I wanted something that I knew I could finish. I finished the first draft of No Hero, in 25 days.

Is this book a stand alone or part of series?
Both? I wrote the book thinking I'd write another but it wasn't meant to be any sort of trilogy or continuing story arc. I'm big on realism so anything that happens in a previous book (chronologically) will affect later books. But every book will be standalone. Those that have read the previous books will "get" more of later ones but new readers won't be forced to go back and read the whole catalogue.

Who did the cover art for your book?
James Riot. He's a webcomic I've been following for years and I knew he'd be perfect for the cover. I couldn't be happier with it. I've also convinced him to start providing covers with special pricing for eBook writers. Together we priced what was out there and he's pretty much undercutting everyone. I think a book cover should be dictated by the flavor and tenor of the content not by the quality of the artist. I've seen amazing covers that have no connection at all to the interior of the book. James is obviously very talented and his style fits Bob to a T.

What sets this book apart from other books in the genre?
Are detective stories set in a world of superheroes a genre? :) One thing I've strived to do with Bob is to ensure that not only does the world make sense and is consistent, but to keep Bob grounded. It is very tempting as an author to have your main character be the most powerful person (aside from perhaps the antagonist) in the story. With Bob, I wanted a character that was obviously inferior to most of the other characters. I didn't want to write a Harry Potter or Neo, I wanted Bob to be just like the rest of us. Well, maybe a little bit better prepared.

I guess if I had to pick a direct comparison to Bob it would be Steven Brust's Vlad character (though I hadn't thought of it until just now). But, unlike Vlad, you'll never see Bob get superpowers or even carry a gun. The idea is that Bob is a normal guy up against supers with little more than his wits, some careful planning, and a bit of luck. I'm really not much on detective books in general but I set Bob down as one because it was the perfect vehicle for a non-powered character to interact with supers.

If you could have a superpower, what power would you choose and why?
This is going to sound weird but I'd like the power of universal translation. I know that flight, super speed, and invisibility are the most popular and if I had to choose one of those three I'd take flight. But my wife is half Turkish and we've traveled a lot to many different countries (Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, India, and Nepal with Thailand, Vietnam, and a few other Southeast Asian countries on the to-do list) and I always thought how cool it would be to speak every language. And not just speak the language, but be a true universal translator in that you understand the culture as well. And yes, there is a good bet that there will be a character in a future Bob book with that power. Probably a villain.

Where can readers find your book?
You can find it on Amazon either in print or for the Kindle. You can also find the physical copy on CreateSpace or digital ones at iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. If I could find a place to carve it into stone tablets, I'd have it available there as well. Pretty much everywhere.

Is there anything else you would like readers to know about Bob Moore: No Hero?
The sequel is in the works. Set about six months after the events in No Hero. The new book, Bob Moore: Desperate Times (working title) will deal (partially) with the aftermath of the end of No Hero. This book is shaping up to be twice as long as No Hero (which is a 35k word novella). One thing I've always found annoying about detective stories in general is that there is often no continuity. Sure, reoccurring characters are introduced but traumatic, often life changing, events are usually glossed over as things the characters got over during the time between the books. That's not me. I like to make my characters suffer. Not needlessly but realistically. That means that while you won't have to read No Hero to understand Desperate Times, it will make it more enjoyable.

How can readers contact you?
I have too many email addresses these days to count. There is a contact form on plus links to all the different social media forms that I use.

Excerpt from Bob Moore: No Hero
Copyright 2011  Tom Andry

"Mr. Moore," his voice sounded of years of drinking and smoking, "what did you find out?"

"Go ahead and take a seat, Mr. O'Malley," I replied, motioning to a chair in front of my desk as I returned to my seat.

The guest chair was heavily reinforced for some of my heavyweight clients and was bolted to the floor for some of my hot-headed ones when I got tired of replacing windows and chairs. When I looked up, Shawn was rooted to the spot, his eyes wide and face flushed.

"Oh, please, Shawn, you must have heard of me or you wouldn't have come."

"How did you..." Flamer stammered. The muscles in his neck and shoulders started to ripple. His pecs and lats convulsed as he clenched his fists unconsciously.

I never understood why supers insisted on being half-dressed all the time. Aside from just looking like a dork, their body language gave away way too much if they weren't careful. In the thirty year history of supers, you can count the "careful" ones on one hand.

"Calm down, Mr. O'Malley, I have no intention of ever revealing your identity to anyone. Ever." I picked up a piece of paper off my desk and pretended to look at it, "I just like to know who I'm working for."

Slowly the tension drained from the super.

Silently, I exhaled. With the "brick" types, you never knew what to expect. Those guys (and sometimes girls) loved to lose their tempers. Now that he realized that I knew who he was, we could continue.

"You had a question you wanted answered," I began. "But first, there's the issue of my payment."

Shawn leaned forward, "You followed her?"

I nodded.

"You saw what she was doing?"

I nodded again.

"Tell me!" he practically shouted.

"Please, Mr. O'Malley," I leaned back in my chair, "let's dispense with the formalities first."

He grimaced and reached behind him.

What I thought was a belt was, in actuality, a fanny-pack. I coughed into my hand, covering my smile.

"There," he practically threw the other half of the money at me. "Now tell me, is she cheating on me?"

"In a word, Mr. O'Malley, no." I gathered up the money and pressed the comm button on the phone. "Khan, bring in the pictures, please."

Flamer looked shocked, "What do you mean, no?"

"Well, I can't say for sure, but you asked me to follow her for a night and see what she was doing."

Khan entered with the pictures and handed them to me. In return, I handed him the money. On his way out, he noticed Flamer's fanny-pack and practically ran out the last two steps.

"I can tell you, she most definitely isn't out sidekicking with someone else."

"What? Well..." he stammered. "What the hell is she doing?"

I smiled and waited a few moments locking my eyes with his, "Having sex."

It looked like I had slapped him. I couldn't help but smile. He looked away, processing what I'd just told him.

"Wa... wa... with who?"

"Now, Mr. O'Malley, that wasn't part of our agreement."

He started to stand, face and chest flushed with emotion.

"Now, don't argue, Mr. O'Malley. You were convinced that whatever she was doing last night was what she'd been sneaking off to do for the last few weeks. You wanted to know what she was doing and I told you."

"But she could still be sidekicking with someone else!"

"If you'd like me to continue following her, I'd be happy to discuss with you a new contract."

"But I paid you a fortune!"

"Let's be reasonable, Mr. O'Malley, you paid me a small fortune. You had to because you wanted me to drop everything I was doing and run after her." I stood as well, "You see, what you super-types fail to understand is that out here, in the real world, you don't go off half-cocked. I did that for you because you offered me enough compensation to make it worth my while. What I got for it was a car that may have to be completely scrapped, the ire of a super much more powerful than you, and I almost lost my life. Now, if you feel you've been unfairly treated, I suggest you take it up with The Bulwark. Perhaps they'll come to your aid."

Flamer sat back down with a plop. Finally taller than him (though only barely) I watched as he seemed to deflate. He knew The Bulwark would never side with him, not when I had a signed contract. Plus, with the work I'd done for half of them, they'd need an ironclad case before ever moving against me.

"No, that's okay," O'Malley squeaked, "you're right, I was just caught a bit off guard."

I sat back down, "I understand, Shawn. I get this all the time."

"I bet you do," he muttered, quietly.

"So, do you want me to keep following her?"

It was pointless since Samantha had already confirmed Cindar wasn't sidekicking for her, but I wasn't about to turn down additional money. Plus, she could be sidekicking with someone else. I doubted it, but maybe.

"Well," he thought for a moment, "hey, don't I get to see the pictures?"

Honestly, by this point I would have bet that he'd forget to ask. I had already shuffled the raciest picture that didn't include a clear shot of Whisper's face to the top of the pile. I handed it over.

Shawn's eyes got wide. "But... but... that's a..."

"Yes, Mr. O'Malley," I smiled watching the emotions run across his face, "a girl. She was having sex. With a girl."

He shifted in his chair. After a moment, he opened his mouth.

"And no, you can't keep the picture," I replied before he could ask.

He carefully lowered the picture and set it on my desk. He stood slowly and I averted my eyes.

I really don't understand why they insist on wearing spandex.

He turned and walked out of my office without saying a word. From the ajar door, I heard O'Malley say, "Bob Moore? What kind of name is that for a PI?"

Khan's voice, "He gets that a lot." A moment later and Khan was back in my office occupying the chair recently vacated by the pink spandex-wearing super. "Oh. My. God." Khan could barely contain himself, "Did you see him? He’d better get that under control or they'll pick him up for indecent exposure.” 

Tom Andry is the Associate Editor of and host of the AV Rant podcastHe's been writing mostly reviews but has lately returned to his prose roots. He has written many unpublished short stories, poems, and a few screenplays that may still be produced. He's the father of three boys affectionately nicknamed Punkalicious, Captain Evil, and Neo. He's happily married and currently resides in Perth, Australia. His background is in drama, creative writing, and research psychology which basically means his kids are in for a pretty rough time. His wife, Tanel, doesn't have it so easy either.

Thanks for stopping by today Tom! 


  1. Thanks for the feature. Spent last night trying to knock out chapter 14 in the sequel. Got most of the way there before nearly falling asleep on the keyboard. Over 51k words, though, which makes it much longer than No Hero already and it is only probably about 2/3rd finished.

  2. Sleeping on the keyboard is okay, just no good can come of it ;)

    Love the humor in this book. Looking forward to when I can continue where I left off.


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