Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Book Review: Nothing Lasts Forever

The original Die Hard movie was loosely based on this sequel to The Detective.  Nothing Lasts Forever was written by Roderick Thorp and published in 1979.  Unless you pay attention to all the credits in your favorite movies the way I do, you're not likely to know this.  The book has been on my To Read list for a while, and I finally found it at my local library.

Roderick Thorp's tight writing style is easy to read.  The novel is a bit dated, but many of the concerns in the novel are still things we are struggling with today - international terrorism, anyone?   None of the dating distracted me from the story.

There was one place in the book where Joe Leland made a note of the time, 9:11, and that made me pause for a moment to reflect on the unknowable foreshadowing by Thorp and on the events of that date.  That was the only thing that took me out of the story for a moment.

Thorp's Joe Leland is an older man, a grandfather, and self-employed as a private detective and security consultant.  References are made to the air marshall program, where the air marshall could be anyone on board a domestic flight. 

This is a rare instance in which I prefer the movie over the book.  Much of the novel is taken up with Joe Leland's internal dialogue, and he's kind of a sad sack.  He second-guesses himself a lot, and randomly reminisces about his past and how he's mucked up his life.  He's not nearly as snarky or clever as John McLane.  Al Powell is not as friendly or quick to support Joe.   Joe Leland's wife has divorced him and died after remarrying.

Many plot points or characters are precisely the same:  Karl has long-blond hair, and his brother is killed early on; Leland's daughter uses the name Gennero; Ellis is a cocaine-sniffing asshole, eager to get into the daughter's pants; Ellis refers to Stefanie Gennero's watch, urging her to show it to her father; Joe Leland cuts his feet badly, though in the book, it's from unexpectedly stepping into a stairwell filled purposely with broken fluorescent light bulbs; the head terrorist's last name is Gruber; there is a jackass police honcho named Dwayne T Robinson.  I could go on and on.  The movie clearly differed from the book in one particular instance:  the terrorist team that invaded Klaxon Oil included two or three women.

In all, I enjoyed the read.  Mentally comparing the novel to the film might have made it a more interesting read for me.  I LOVE Die Hard and John McLane!