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Nothing Lasts Forever Hardcover – October, 1979

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Editorial Reviews


Novel That Inspired 'Die Hard' Returns to Print After 20 Years. Roderick Thorp's Nothing Lasts Forever was adapted into the iconic franchise's first film. Die Hard has returned, and not just to movie theaters. The book that inspired the original film is back in print after 20 years. Late author Roderick Thorp's Nothing Lasts Forever is being released in trade paperback and ebook by Graymalkin Media to mark the 25th anniversary of its original publication. The book was adapted into 1988's Die Hard. But before Bruce Willis brought New York cop John McClane to life, he was an idea scrawled in Thorp's notebook. (The cop is named Joe Leland in the novel.) The ebook includes copies of Thorp's notes, the first time they have been published. He wrote them while living in Laurel Canyon, his house overlooking a high-rise building on the Wilshire Corridor. (That building became the inspiration for the one taken over by terrorists in the book.) Just as there are no flashbacks, there are no shifts in point of view. Everything is told -- discovered from Leland's interior, Thorp wrote in his treatment for the novel. Before Willis ultimately took the role, a number of other stars turned it down. The first to pass was Frank Sinatra, who played Joe Leland in The Detective (1968), based on Thorp's novel of the same name. Other stars who declined to play the now iconic role included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Richard Gere, Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson. 'Die Hard very closely follows the book, so reading Nothing Lasts Forever gives fans the chance to enjoy the thrill of the Die Hard story in more detail, experience the scenes that didn't make it into the film, and discover the novel's shocking ending' said Graymalkin Media Owner and CEO David Zindel. --The Hollywood Reporter, 2/23/2013 by Aaron Couch --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

High atop a Los Angeles skyscraper, an office Christmas party turns into a deadly cage-match between a lone New York City cop and a gang of international terrorists. Every action fan knows it could only be the explosive big-screen blockbuster Die Hard. But before Bruce Willis blew away audiences as unstoppable hero John McClane, author Roderick Thorp knocked out thriller readers with the bestseller that started it all.

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! --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 188 pages
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Company; 1st edition (October 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393012492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393012491
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By 42 on January 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
First of all, I should probably say that Die Hard is one of my favorite movies of all time. For me, reading the book it was based on was a no brainer, but I even recommend it to people who aren't fans of the movie. While retaining the same basic "terrorists seize building" plot of the film, the novel is actually very different. It involves a much older hero (Joe Leland) who is desperately trying to save his daughter and two grandchildren, rather than his wife. The whole thing is a little more realistic and plausible than the movie. For instance, Leland's daughter, Stephanie, is not your average, ethically flawless, damsel in distress. She is obviously not a perfect person. More than once, Joe finds himself thinking about all the mistakes she has made in her life. The book contains variations on all of the familiar stunts and supporting characters (minus the two arrogant FBI agents) that really helped to make the movie great. The action sequences are quite suspenseful, especially for a book. What really enhances the suspense is Leland's vulnerability. He doesn't kill without emotion, and he's definitely not physically invincible. In a few parts it really seems like he's done for. Nothing Lasts Forever is an overall great book that is extremely entertaining and hard to put down. My only major complaint is that since the entire story follows Leland's point of view, you only come into contact with the head antagonist (Gruber) when Joe does. As a result, the character of Gruber is not nearly as memorable as Alan Rickman's portrayal in Die Hard. To wrap up, if you liked Die Hard it would be a mistake not to pick up this book, and even if you weren't crazy about the film, Nothing Lasts Forever is different enough to warrant a strong recommendation.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By M J Heilbron Jr. VINE VOICE on January 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A grim, more bleak version of what you might have been initially exposed to in the first "Die Hard" film, Roderick Thorp's "Nothing Lasts Forever" was a pleasure to read.

There are enough differences to keep movie-viewers off balance, and the writing is tough and terse, befitting it's hero, Joe Leland (not John McClane).

The plot similarities are as such: it opens on a plane from NYC to LAX. He's visiting an estranged family member in L.A., who works in a high rise and they're having a Christmas party when the building gets taken over by terrorists. There's a cop on the outside, there's the cop's "superior" who's not the most competent, the big bad guy is Anton (not Hans) Gruber...but...

...the tone is really quite different. It's a bit more introspective, withe Leland feeling himself consumed by hatred toward his enemies. When he takes out a terrorist, you get an impression of how it affects him. They're not casual. And as he "gets better" at it, it starts to change his thinking. It's pretty interesting stuff.

The media presence is handled much more seriously, not as a comic plot device/aside in the film. I thought it was much more realistic...the way media can manipulate the real story, and also how those people actually involved in the news story can manipulate the media right back. There's a few clever sequences that wouldn't have fit in the film, but are nevertheless pretty cool.

I'm withholding the numerous plot differences between the two, as I hope you'll discover them for yourselves, but as a teaser, the hero is going to visit his daughter, not his wife...

The film's screenplay, I think, is a masterpiece of action film writing. Good dialogue, nice exposition, decent plot twists.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Elmquist on December 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Die Hard (The Movie) fans may be intrested in reading this book, but beware, there are some major differences. One disappointing difference is the absence of Hans Gruber. The colorful mastermind from the movie is no where to be seen in this book. In fact there is no snappy banter to be found because the terrorists don't speak English. The realism factor is higher in this book too, not that Die Hard wasn't believable, but when you puke after realizing you've killed someone, you're talking real life. Other differences are abound in this book. You should read it to see them all. It's entertaining, and Thorpe is a talented writer, but this book is not quite as entertaining as the movie. Still, don't let that discourage you, I throughly believe that books hold more depth, detail and darkness than Hollywood.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By mike on June 17, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The time is the late 70's. Our hero is making a cross-country flight to visit his daughter. Little does he know what action, danger, and notoriety are in his future. Yes the plot is similiar to what fans loved about the movie.
John McTiernan captured the essence of Thorp's novel with the addition of querky characters like the FBI agents, Johnson and Johnson. I liked reading the book to get the "back story" on our hero who's name is not John McClane but Joe Leland; who is older and more experienced than his cinema alter ego.
The terrorists are politically motivated here and give strong argument to the greedy motivations of corporations and governments. The violence was so graphic in the book, especially the killing of female terrorists by Leland, that the movie altered those elements to more "socially acceptable" killings. Overall, I enjoyed the Nothing Lasts Forever and look forward to reading the first book in Thorpe's series.
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