Roderick Thorp

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Roderick Mayne Thorp, Jr. (September 1, 1936 – April 28, 1999) was an American novelist specializing mainly in police procedural/ crime novels. He is best known for his bestselling novel Nothing Lasts Forever which is the basis for the film Die Hard starring Bruce Willis. His 1966 novel The Detective was made into a 1968 film of the same name, starring Frank Sinatra as Detective Joe Leland.

The movie Die Hard was such a successful adaptation because the novel was action-packed, visually descriptive and enables the movie to follow its source material Nothing Lasts Forever closely; many of the film's memorable scenes, characters, and dialogue are taken directly from the bestselling novel. The Los Angeles Times called it, "A ferocious, bloody, raging book so single-mindedly brilliant in concept and execution it should be read at a single sitting."[1] Two other Thorp novels, Rainbow Drive and Devlin, were adapted into TV movies.

In most of his fiction, Thorp posed a lone, strong, flawed hero ever at odds with a corrupt/inept law enforcement establishment. The hero spends more time running from/defending against the venalities and corruption of the police of which he is or was a part than fighting the evildoers. Only his efforts save the city, the hostages, the friends from disaster. The villains are almost less of a threat to civilization than the establishment.

Thorp died of a heart attack in Oxnard, California.[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Bronx, New York City.[4] As a young college graduate, Thorp worked at a detective agency owned by his father. He would later teach literature and lecture on creative writing at schools and universities in New Jersey and California, and also wrote articles for newspapers and magazines.


  • Into the Forest (1961)
  • The Detective (1966)
  • Dionysus (1969)
  • The Music of Their Laughter: An American Album (1970)
  • Wives: An Investigation (1971)
  • Slaves (1973)
  • The Circle of Love (1974)
  • Westfield (1977)
  • Nothing Lasts Forever (1979) (reissued as Die Hard)
  • Jenny and Barnum: A Novel of Love (1981)
  • Rainbow Drive (1986)
  • Devlin (1988)
  • River: A Novel of the Green River Killings (1995)



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