Tag: Commando

Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp

Posted April 22, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Thriller / 0 Comments

Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick ThorpTitle: Nothing Lasts Forever (Goodreads)
Author: Roderick Thorp
Series: Die Hard #1
Published: Graymalkin Media, 1979
Pages: 246
Genres: Thriller
My Copy: ARC from Netgalley

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Retired NYPD Detective Joe Leland visits his daughter in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to spend the holiday period with her. He meets her at her place of work, the 40-story office that houses the headquarters of the Klaxon Oil Corporation. Only to find the building been taken by a group of Cold War-era German terrorists. Lead by Anton “Little Tony” Gruber, their plans are to steal documents that will publicly expose the Klaxon Corporation. With the help of LAPD Sergeant Al Powell, Leland must fight the terrorist one by one to save the hostages, and more importantly his daughter and grandchildren.

Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp was re-released in December 2012 after being out of print for 20 years and if you haven’t guessed it by now, this is the novel Die Hard is based on. My biggest issue with the book was it was very similar to the classic movie (which I’ve seen so many times), yet it was missing all the one liners and humour. Most of the most iconic scenes do come from the book, including crawling around the elevator shafts, C4 down the elevator shaft, jumping off the roof with a fire hose and the gun tapped to his back. I’m surprised just how faithful to the book the movie does seem but then when you expect him to say “Now I have a machine gun, Ho Ho Ho” or something similar Leland says something similar but different and it just doesn’t feel right.

The similarities seem to be so numerous that it is almost pointless to read the book, especially if you know the movie back to front. The major differences between the book and the movie (not including names and slight character changes) include that Terrorist were really out to expose the company rather than  robbing them and the ending was less Hollywood in the end. I feel this is one of the rare cases where the movie outshines the book, even if it is similar overall the movie was amazing and the book was fading away into obscurity (up till the rerelease). McClane is a far better character than Leland but interesting enough the book seems to focus a lot more on the complexity of the protagonist’s mind in regards to family, guilt and his alcoholism but I felt it didn’t work too well.

The book does feel like it’s aged too much, the political views on terrorism seem so dated, but if you read this book as just an action novel you probably can overlook this and even forgive it. I never was able to do this, I just felt like their responses to the hostile takeover felt wrong and somewhat amateurish. This is obviously to make sure Leland had to remain the single man that can save the 72 hostages but part of me was a little annoyed by that. One man taking on the world makes for a great story but I’m always bothered by that and while it’s entertaining in a book I feel like I question it more than I would with a movie.

Nothing Lasts Forever is a little darker than Die Hard but there is no real competition when comparing the two. Die Hard is a classic action film and spawned some great (and terrible) sequels. The book was interesting to explore but really there are more books out there that deserve the time; stick to the film. Interestingly enough, Nothing Lasts Forever was intended as a sequel to the 1966 film The Detective starring Frank Sinatra, then as a follow up to Commando (1985) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both actors declined the role; after being rewritten, the script turned into a standalone film which has become one of the greatest Action movies of all time.