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Die Hard with a Vengeance Novelization

Die Hard with a Vengeance - A Novel is a novelization by D. Chiel of the film of the same name. It was first published in May 28th, 1995. The novel is written in third person omniscient and has a somewhat darker tone in comparison to the final film.

Differences Between Novel and Film[]

  • In the novel, the Bonwit Teller building is completely leveled to the ground. In the film the explosion only appears to affect the storefront. 
  • The novel allows us to look deeper into John McClane's psyche and see how angry and broken he has become since leaving Holly and becoming an alcoholic. Cobb's thoughts tell the reader that he has cycles similar to a bipolar person. There are highs when he is recklessly trying to save the world and lows when he is not being stimulated and becomes self-destructive to himself and his relationships.  
  • In the novel, Cobb's inner monologue also tells the reader that he thinks McClane is extremely good at his job and the sharpest cop he has ever known. There is an admiration he holds for John which does not translate to the film.  
  • McClane's introduction is also different. In the film, McClane is first seen in the police van to Harlem while being briefed on what is going on. The novel includes a scene before this where Connie and Joe find McClane in his messy apartment. 
  • In the novel, McClane flashes back to his childhood birthday party as an eight-year-old. He laments his old man showing up drunk and stumbling around their backyard. He states that this is where he learned that you can both love and hate someone at the same time. He is also thankful that his kids don't have to see him in his current state. 
  • In the novel, the sandwich-board sign McClane wears through Harlem says 'I HATE EVERYBODY,' which is different from the theatrical version of the film, but the same as the version that was edited for television. 
  • In the novel, there are only five or six gang members on 138th Street. 
  • In the novel, McClane flashes back to a recent fishing trip a friend convinced him to take to Lake Placid, which he found dull and unappealing. He uses this experience as a corollary to convincing Zeus at Police Plaza, to help him play Simon Says for the rest of the day. He believes that catching a fish was a simple task when compared to persuading Zeus help him stop Simon. 
  • Katya appears much later into the story than she does in the film. She isn't involved in the Federal Reserve robbery and instead appears just before Simon and Targo take off in one of the dump trucks. Like the final film, she ends up killing Targo for Simon.
  • In the novel, it is a single persistent male reporter, Ben Dunham from Number One News, who stays behind to harass Ricky Walsh about why the rest of the police left in such a hurry.
  • The original placement of the Yippee-Ki-Yay line is included. Instead of being used at the end, McClane uses the line when talking to Simon over the radios while in the aqueducts. This was meant to be in the same vein as the original use of the line in the first Die Hard.
  • Zeus' original backstory is presented in the novel, explaining why he's looking after his nephews and why he hates white people. During the car chase, Zeus explains that his brother was killed during a drug raid. When McClane suggests that it was his brother's own fault, Zeus explains the his brother was never involved in drugs and the only reason he was there was to bring Zeus home. 
  • The novel features the film's alternate ending where a disgruntled John McClane forces Simon at gunpoint to play "McClane Says". The game involves McClane asking Simon a number of riddles while a Chinese rocket launcher is placed on the table. Simon is allowed to turn the launcher as many times as he likes but McClane has removed all the sites and directional indicators, meaning neither one of them knows which way it's going to fire. When Simon finally gets a riddle wrong he's forced to finally make his decision and fire the launcher. Simon ends up losing the game and is killed by the rocket. McClane then reveals that the answer to the last riddle was a flak jacket, the thing that could have saved him from the rocket.