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On my recent trip to Benidorm I managed to whizz through my book on Bret Hart within about two days which left me with a bit of a quandary. Benidorm isn't known as a capital of literature, but I was able to track down a Brit shop that sold a few old sandy paperbacks - ones that had probably been on the Costa Blanca for about twenty years. One such book hiding on that bookshelf was 'Nothing Lasts Forever' by Roderick Thorp.
What initially interested me about the boom was the garish illustration on the front showing a building under attack from helicopters. And then I realised that I knew the book and that it had quite a different sort of appeal. I realised that the book was the initial inspiration for the first Die Hard film, but there were some differences between the book and the film.
Strangely enough the book's prequel was made into a film with Frank Sinatra in the lead role - that was 'The Detective'. The book centres on Joe Leland, an ageing detective who travels to L.A to visit his daughter at a party at the Klaxon Oil building. It's a Christmas party, but before he can get acquainted the building is stormed by terrorists who take everyone as hostages. It's up to Leland alone to take on the nasty German nutters and kill them all.
The film is actually a very close adaptation of the book. All the action is there and then some. The character of Leland is different though, here an ageing detective as opposed to the relatively youthful Bruce Willis. It's not his wife he is visiting either, here it is his daughter, but apart from that the book is very similar.
I would say though that the book is much darker in tone. There really isn't a huge amount of humour in the book at all - no wisecracks the lighten the mood. The ending is also a lot more downbeat than the relatively 'happy' ending to Die Hard. The book is also only told from the perspective of Leland, rather than from a casual observer of the situation, so the surrounding media circus is as much a surprise to the reader as it is Leland.
Its pulp fiction really. It is what it is, nothing more nothing less. It was entertaining as a piece of disposable nonsense on the beach and should not be considered anything like great literature! I t was worth reading and anyone who is a fan of Die Hard might want a look in just to see where the inspiration came from. It's interesting to also note that Thorp took his inspiration from The Towering Inferno - so theres a pub quiz link for you!