The novel is a sequel to Thorp's earlier novel titled The Detective which had also been adapted into a film starring Frank Sinatra. The author wrote the sequel with the hope that it would be made into a follow up film that still had Sinatra as the lead. Unfortunately, the legendary singer and actor didn't want to reprise his role. Several years later, the novel would be adapted into Die Hard with a few changes made to the original story. Here are those major differences. He is a daredevil and an alcoholic who doesn't like following orders from his bosses. McClane is also said to be in his 30s. However, in the book, the protagonist is a retired cop name Joe Leland, an elderly tough guy who is also a World War II veteran. He spends much of his time reminiscing about his days as a policeman and a soldier. Despite the wide age gap, Leland is also stubborn and has trouble bowing down to authority like McClane does. This explains why an older Sinatra was first approached for the book's film adaptation before the script was rewritten to accommodate a younger Willis. Before things go terribly wrong, John McClane is trying to repair his relationship with his wife Holly. She has dropped his name McClane and is now going by Holly Gennero, moving to Los Angeles after getting a job opportunity there. McClane thus goes to surprise her at her office during a Christmas party. Leland, on the other hand, is on his way to Los Angeles to meet his daughter Stephanie Gennero, who is having an office party. In contrast to McClane showing up unannounced in the movie, Stephanie actually invited her dad Leland to her office party because she misses him. The Los Angeles branch is the headquarters of what is said to be a larger Japanese conglomerate. In the novel, the action takes place at the Klaxon Oil Corporation where Stephanie is an executive. Holly even calls out Hans on this, to which he violently reacts. His plan is to steal crucial documents that will expose the corrupt Klaxon Corporation's dealings with Chile's dictatorial regime. No name is given for the driver, too. As soon as he drops Leland, he leaves both the area and story, never to be mentioned again. A flight attendant seems interested in McClane but he doesn't reciprocate. When he lands, she stares at him briefly but McClane simply goes about his business, intent on reconciling with Holly. However, in the novel, Leland strikes up a real romance with a stewardess named Kathi Logan. The two flirt on the plane and when he lands, he takes her phone number. During the ongoing terrorist activities in the building, he keeps communicating with her via an OB radio. This remote form of help is fulfilled by Sgt. Al Powell in the film. He then scribbles the words "Now I have a machine gun, Ho Ho Ho" on the man's shirt and sends him up the elevator for Gruber and company to see. It's all part of his mind games to freak out the baddies while also taunting whoever's in charge since at this point, John has yet to see or hear Hans. Leland does something similar in the novel, only that he switches the wording to plural. He writes "Now we have a machine gun" to confuse the terrorists, making them think there's multiple infiltrators when in fact he's a one-man team.

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