Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Nothing Lasts Forever: Roderick Thorpe

This is the novel that the film Die Hard (1988) was based on. The book was published in 1979 so the time frame is about the same in the book and the movie.

From the description on the back of the book:
A dozen heavily armed terrorists have taken hostages, issued demands, and promised bloodshed all according to plan. But they haven't counted on a death-defying, one-man cavalry with no shoes, no backup, and no intention of going down easily. As hot-headed cops swarm outside, and cold-blooded killers wield machine guns and rocket launchers inside, the stage is set for the ultimate showdown between anti-hero and uber-villains. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fight to the death. Ho ho ho!

I would like to think that I could have evaluated this book without comparing it to the movie as I read it, but that wasn't really possible. I have seen the movie many, many times and practically have it memorized. And the plot of the book is close enough to the movie that it was hard to separate them.

In the book the main character is Joseph Leland. He is a former policeman, once had his own private detective agency, and now is a security consultant.  When terrorists take over the skyscraper he is visiting, he evades them and soon knows how dangerous they are and that he is the only one who has a chance to foil their plan.

If anything, the book has more violence than the film, and the story is definitely darker than the film. There is very little humor. The story is set at Christmas, beginning Christmas Eve and ending on December 25th. Much of the action is very similar to the film, but characters and relationships are different.

I did like the story very much. It is told from Leland's point of view, and we learn a lot about his past and his attitudes in between action scenes. Other characters are important to the story, but we never get to know them as well. The ending was a shocker.

Roderick Thorp wrote an earlier novel, The Detective, published in 1966 and also featuring Joseph Leland.  It is twice as long and doesn't get many good reviews so I am undecided whether to give it a try someday.


Publisher:   Graymalkin Media, 2012 (orig. pub. 1979)
Length:      245 pages
Format:      Trade Paperback
Series:       Joseph Leland #1
Setting:      Los Angeles, California
Genre:       Thriller
Source:      I purchased this book.


Jerry House said...

I haven't read NOTHING LASTS FOREVER but I have read and enjoyed THE DETECTIVE. It was made into a moderately good film in 1968 starring Frank Sinatra.

Margot Kinberg said...

I've seen the film, too, Tracy, and I think it would be hard to separate that from the book if they're very similar. Not sure I'd be up for even more violence than the film had, but it sounds as though the story is well done. Glad you enjoyed it.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Jerry. I was hoping I would hear opinions if anyone had read it. I will look around at used book stores and the annual book sale.

TracyK said...

I did enjoy it, Margot, and I was not sure if I would. And it was enough different to keep me in suspense, although I still was very surprised at the ending.

col2910 said...

I never knew the film was based on a book, Tracy. I've heard of this author before, but not read anything by him. A maybe, as I do like the film.

TracyK said...

I had known that the film was based on a book, Col, but never felt it was worth pursuing until I realized a new edition had been published a few years ago. I did not expect the book to be much like the movie, and it was much closer than I expected. If you run into a copy, it is worth a try.

Mathew Paust said...

Same experience for me with The Maltese Falcon, Tracy. Seen the movie more times than I can count, and read the book multiple times, too. Hard to find any variances. Have only seen Die Hard once, and didn't know of the book. My sister's best friend growing up played a bar maid in the movie. I didn't know that when I saw the movie or it would have been infinitely more interesting to me.

TracyK said...

We watched The Maltese Falcon again on Thanksgiving, Matt. Love that movie. That is interesting about Die Hard. I will look for a bar maid in the movie next time we watch it, I can't remember where that is.

Mathew Paust said...

I'm thinking cocktail waitress, Tracy. Really do need to see it again! Happy New Year!

Clothes In Books said...

Certainly didn't think of Die Hard as being based on a book. Sounds too dark for me - but I have seen the film of The Detective.

TracyK said...

I had known it was based on a book, Moira, but I assumed it was like a lot of other adaptations, and had little resemblance to the movie. It is dark and plenty of violence. The protagonist was a good bit older than the role Bruce Willis played which made for some interesting differences.