Saturday, 18 July 2015

Brianna Reviews // 58 Minutes by Walter Wager

Published: 16th February 2013 (originally: 31st December 1987)
Publisher: Graymalkin Media
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: Basis for the blockbuster film Die Hard 2 starring Bruce Willis.

"58 Minutes" It is every traveler's secret nightmare. What if you are in an airplane during a violent snowstorm...What if your radar is destroyed...What if they can't get you down? It is 5:09 p.m. in New York City, and a man named Willi Staub is about to make sure the nightmare explodes into life. His goal: to bring the American government to its knees with the first major terrorist attack on the U.S. mainland. Staub, a ruthless and cunning man hunted by police forces in every major Western country, has led a carefully chosen team of revolutionaries from four continents to New York. Their plan: to hold as many people hostage as possible - in the skies above the city.

Can one policeman stop their foolproof plan?

So I only realised this book existed while I was typing up my review for Nothing Lasts Forever so naturally I bought it straight away.
It’s not a sequel to Nothing Lasts Forever, it’s not written by the same author or about the same character. It is purely the basis for Die Hard 2 and unlike Nothing Lasts Forever and Die Hard, 58 Minutes and Die Hard 2 are not closely related, it is after all only the basis. So what is 58 Minutes?

In 58 Minutes we follow NYPD Captain Frank Malone, who also happens to head an anti-terrorist unit, so in that respect Malone has more in common with Leland in Nothing Lasts Forever than he does with McClane. Frank is heading for JFK airport to pick up his young daughter who is arriving on a plane from California where she lives with her mother. Unfortunately as he is on his way to the airport Willi Staub is starting to put his plans in motion. To be honest it’s a pretty simple plot line, which between the synopsis and the connection to Die Hard 2, I’m sure you’ve got it. Terrorists take out the airports radar and radio equipment stranding the planes in the sky, the plane with the least fuel only has 58 minutes until it falls from the sky. Frank is coincidently invited up to the Air Traffic control room when the equipment fails. He calmly and competently takes control of the situation calling everyone from the NYPD to the FBI and Pentagon (this is the point where the film deviates from the book and never returns).  Because of this deviation I won’t and don’t feel the need to go in depth into how the book differs  from the film like the fact that Annie Green is replaced by a man as by this point they are pretty much separate entities.

58 Minutes jumps back and forth between multiple characters as well as frank; a handful of people on the planes, some of which are behaving very suspiciously; the pilots, of course; Several members of the terrorist group; Annie Green, the Supervisor of the control room and more. With so many POV’s you would imagine that it would get confusing or feel disjointed but it wasn’t the only thing I got confused about was which plane was which as I could remember which flight numbers, pilots and passengers belonged to each other.
I really enjoyed reading 58 Minutes even though it was somewhat predictable and very straight forward, but most novels are somewhat predictable, I mean it is obvious that Malone would ‘win’ but I still enjoyed reading.

I would say though that knowing the film was a disadvantage to reading the book because I read the whole thing expecting blanks (those familiar with the film will understand) but no blanks! In fact I think my imagination was constantly expecting something more complicated some extra double cross. So overall I’m a little unsure whether it was my expectations driving me to read it so quickly as there were times when I couldn’t put it down or if it was the book itself but I do know that I enjoyed the read and I would probably recommend it although if you are expecting a novel version of Die Hard 2 this is not your book – sorry.

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