Forever and a Death
A formerly rich businessman thrown out of Hong Kong when the Chinese took over from the British decides to fix his dire financial problems and take revenge on the Chinese by tunneling under Hong Kong's bank vaults and stealing all their gold, then using a doomsday device to set off a "soliton wave" that will turn the ground to sludge, causing the whole city to collapse. Only the engineer on his staff who designed the soliton wave technology (intending it for good purposes, to help with construction projects) can stop him, working together with a beautiful young environmental activist who gets caught up in one of the soliton tests and nearly killed. From the deck of a yacht near the Great Barrier Reef to Australia and Singapore and finally Hong Kong itself, it's a deadly game of cat-and-mouse as our heroes first struggle to escape the villain's clutches and then thwart his insanely destructive plan.

Forever and a Death Details

TitleForever and a Death
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJun 13th, 2017
PublisherHard Case Crime
ISBN1785654233
ISBN-139781785654237
Number of pages464 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Adventure

Forever and a Death Review

  • Dan Schwent
    June 1, 2017
    When engineer George Manville invented a way to create a soliton wave that would destroy buildings build atop landfill, Richard Curtis, his employer, was pleased beyond measure. However, a woman's near-death during the initial test and Curtis' reaction to it has put them at odds. Can Manville stop Curtis before he uses the process against its true target?I've read 70-something books in the Hard Case Crime Series and I'm a fan of Donald Westlake so this one was an easy grab when the fine folks at When engineer George Manville invented a way to create a soliton wave that would destroy buildings build atop landfill, Richard Curtis, his employer, was pleased beyond measure. However, a woman's near-death during the initial test and Curtis' reaction to it has put them at odds. Can Manville stop Curtis before he uses the process against its true target?I've read 70-something books in the Hard Case Crime Series and I'm a fan of Donald Westlake so this one was an easy grab when the fine folks at Titan offered it to me.Crafted from a rejected James Bond script Westlake wrote a few years before his death, Forever and a Death is a posthumous publication, what may be the last from Donald Westlake. It's also not a bad read.The James Bond roots of Forever and a Death are fairly visible in the action, the international intrigue, and in the general plot. Isn't a billionaire with a doomsday device a Bond staple? The violence is Stark at times (get it?) and Westlake has always been able to weave a yarn together. The soliton wave is suitably Bond-esque without being completely ridiculous. Although I wonder why it took most of the characters so long to figure out where Curtis was planning to strike.Richard Curtis, millionaire villain, was by far the most interesting character in the book. Therein lies my problem with the whole book. When you take James Bond out of the story, what do you have? George Manville is pretty good at dealing out violence for someone who is an engineer but he clearly lacks the charisma of 007. Manville gets lost in an ensemble cast of more interesting characters, like Jerry Diedrich, the environmentalist nursing a secret grudge against Curtis, or even Colin Bennett, Curtis' henchman carrying around secrets of his own.Forever and a Death is my favorite posthumous Westlake so far and a fun read but I couldn't help wondering how it would have played as a James Bond film. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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  • Mark
    January 6, 2017
    Back in the 1990s, Eon Productions worked with a number of writers to develop the story for the follow-up to Goldeneye. One of those writers was Donald Westlake, legendary author of over 100 crime novels, the perhaps most famous of which were the Parker books (under his pseudonym of Richard Stark). In 1995, before Goldeneye was even released, Westlake turned into Eon two treatments for “Bond 18.” Both his treatments apparently used as their backdrop Hong Kong’s transfer of sovereignty to China. Back in the 1990s, Eon Productions worked with a number of writers to develop the story for the follow-up to Goldeneye. One of those writers was Donald Westlake, legendary author of over 100 crime novels, the perhaps most famous of which were the Parker books (under his pseudonym of Richard Stark). In 1995, before Goldeneye was even released, Westlake turned into Eon two treatments for “Bond 18.” Both his treatments apparently used as their backdrop Hong Kong’s transfer of sovereignty to China. In one of the treatments, Westlake had 007 facing off against Gideon Goodbread, an American businessman who planned to level Hong Kong after robbing its banks – a revenge scheme for the death of his missionary parents at the hands of the Red Chinese. Westlake described his Bond villain as “John Goodman with a Southern accent”, and likened him to the lead character in Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me. Goodbread commanded an army of Amerasian orphans he called “the Children.”Westlake floated the following titles for his Bond adventure: Dragonsteeth; Nobody Dies; Forever And A Death; Never Look Back; On Borrowed Time. That last title was prophetic; the time-sensitive nature of the Hong Kong chanegover backdrop was deemed unsuitable, we got Tomorrow Never Dies instead, and Westlake's script was shelved.Now Hard Case Crime has resurrected this lost story, which at some point Westlake rewrote as a novel - Forever And A Death. It’s no longer a James Bond story and the details described above may not be included, but the vestigial elements of the story seem to be in place.As a bonus, the novel will contain an afterword by one of the Bond producers, describing the history of the project.On the last day of 2008 Donald E Westlake passed away and he left us a large literary inheritance and some really great characters like Dortmunder or the infamous Parker, written as Richard Stark. Since he passed away two previous posthumous books have been published to the great pleasure of his fans. And with this book being the third he has catered for the fans of himself and those nutty basterds called James Bond fans, especially the ones who enjoy the books. It is this last group I admit being a member of. As a fan of Richard Stark mostly enjoying his immense character and minimalistic writing style I found to my pleasure a book that is an excellent thriller that makes for comfortable reading and may I say it can be considered a brilliant beach-read of the like Robert Ludlum used to deliver. The book starts with a big building cooperation trying to reshape an island but in a brand new way. Of course the environmentalists pop up for a protest which ends in the death of one of the protesters. Only afterwards when the body is recovered of this diver that got caught in the explosions it turns out that her death was a wee bit too early decided upon. Kim Baldur is the lady in question and when the baddie Richard Curtis decides to make her published demise a permanent matter he finds that his main engineer George Manning has a more enlightened view of the worth of life.This book is no great mystery thriller it is an adventurous thriller about a bad guy saving the world opposed by environmentalists and an engineer and lucky lady. Their adventures in trying to stop the bad guy from killing millions of people takes them from Australia, Singapore to Hing Kong. Forget about James Bond 007, this story is brilliantly reworked into a standalone thriller that more than satisfies and delivers the goods you'd expect. Well worth your time as a thriller reader and the afterword is more about the writer Westlake and about the movie world. Less about the book but an nice extra for the reader and fans.
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  • Karl
    June 19, 2017
    It states on the copyright page that “Forever and A Death” is produced by “Windfall LLC”. A quick google search informs the searcher that Windfall LLC is actually “Charles Ardai's company named “Winterfall LLC”. We also find that Westlake wrote two story treatments for the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies “in collaboration with Bond series writer-producer Michael G. Wilson. None of Westlake's ideas made it into the completed film, but in 1998 the author used the first treatment as the basis It states on the copyright page that “Forever and A Death” is produced by “Windfall LLC”. A quick google search informs the searcher that Windfall LLC is actually “Charles Ardai's company named “Winterfall LLC”. We also find that Westlake wrote two story treatments for the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies “in collaboration with Bond series writer-producer Michael G. Wilson. None of Westlake's ideas made it into the completed film, but in 1998 the author used the first treatment as the basis for a novel, “Fall of the City”. The existence of the novel (and its connection to the Bond treatments) was revealed in an article published in issue #32 of the magazine “MI6 Confidential”. The article also provides a detailed analysis of the two treatments. “Fall of the City” will be published under the title “Forever and a Death” in June 2017 by Hard Case Crime. And here it is.From a long afterword in the book “Forever and a Death” which is written by Jeff Kleeman, we are informed that the first of the treatments was 35 some odd pages in length and the second was 9 pages long. I say all this due to the implication that this book is somehow linked to the James Bond series. Warning THIS IS NOT TRUE. There is no James Bond or any of his cohorts in this lengthy (over long in MHO) novel.Donald Edwin Westlake (July 12, 1933 – December 31, 2008) was one of my favorite authors for many years. He specialized in crime fiction, especially comic capers, with an occasional foray into science fiction. Mr. Westlake also wrote under the names of Richard Stark, Alan Marshall (or Alan Marsh), James Blue, John Dexter, Andrew Shaw, Edwin West, John B. Allan, Don Holliday, Curt Clark, Barbara Wilson, Tucker Coe, P. N. Castor, Timothy J. Culver, J. Morgan Cunningham, Samuel Holt, and Judson Jack Carmichael. There might be more.The book “Forever and A Death” is a thriller written in four parts. Throughout the book the POV character is not consistent, the voices keep changing. The book should have been better edited because in parts the narrative is rambling and overlong. I’m not sure if Mr. Westlake could not find a publisher or get the book published under a pseudo name for this work in his lifetime. That should tell you something.Heads Up.
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  • Benoit Lelièvre
    June 27, 2017
    This novel answered a question I'm sure nobody ever asked themselves: would a James Bond novel be better if it didn't have James Bond in it. Of course it would! FOREVER AND A DEATH, one of Donald Westlake's "lost" novels was originally supposed to be a James Bond movie and when it fell through, he did what any great writer would've done: he wrote it anyway.There is no James Bond in this book but it doesn't matter because there's a demented capitalist villain, a crazy international conspiracy, as This novel answered a question I'm sure nobody ever asked themselves: would a James Bond novel be better if it didn't have James Bond in it. Of course it would! FOREVER AND A DEATH, one of Donald Westlake's "lost" novels was originally supposed to be a James Bond movie and when it fell through, he did what any great writer would've done: he wrote it anyway.There is no James Bond in this book but it doesn't matter because there's a demented capitalist villain, a crazy international conspiracy, assassins, bulldozers and a lot more fun along the way. It's a 460 pages novel so it gets a little carried away at times, but it is so freakin' shamelessly over the top that it's still a whole lot of fun, like Robert Ludlum on Angel Dust.
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  • Anthony
    May 20, 2017
    Really really enjoyed this. My full review can be found at my website: http://anthonycardno.com/2017/05/book...(Full disclosure: I received an uncorrected proof Advance Reading Copy from the publisher several weeks ago, hence publishing this review before the book actually hits the stands.)
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  • Bill Lynas
    June 19, 2017
    So, what went wrong here ? It started (many years ago) with a screenplay for a James Bond film that the producers never used. Sensibly, Donald Westlake turned his unused script into a novel. Of course, without copyright to 007, he made the novel with his own characters. So far so good.I am a huge James Bond fan & I've read & enjoyed some of Westlake's fast paced novels featuring professional thief & killer Parker, which he wrote under the pen name of Richard Stark. I was expecting so So, what went wrong here ? It started (many years ago) with a screenplay for a James Bond film that the producers never used. Sensibly, Donald Westlake turned his unused script into a novel. Of course, without copyright to 007, he made the novel with his own characters. So far so good.I am a huge James Bond fan & I've read & enjoyed some of Westlake's fast paced novels featuring professional thief & killer Parker, which he wrote under the pen name of Richard Stark. I was expecting something of a similar style from Forever & A Death, but how wrong I was about that. First of all I freely admit I never finished the book. I read 23 chapters on my Kindle, which is 20% of the story, before giving up. It was so dull. Yes, the concept of the villain's "weapon" was interesting, but the story was full of lifeless characters & dull situations. Such a pity that one of my most anticipated books of the year proved to be such a disappointment.
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  • Dave
    June 13, 2017
    Westlake Writes Bond -Sort OfForever and a Death was originally a treatment by Westlake for a new Bond movie in the mid 90's to follow Goldeneye. Although the movie was not made, Westlake turned the treatment into a novelization. Now finally Hard Case Crime has posthumously published Westlake's novel as one of its infamous lost novels. Westlake put a lot of different elements into this story starting with a Bond-type mega-villain who runs a corporate empire and has hundreds of guys working to br Westlake Writes Bond -Sort OfForever and a Death was originally a treatment by Westlake for a new Bond movie in the mid 90's to follow Goldeneye. Although the movie was not made, Westlake turned the treatment into a novelization. Now finally Hard Case Crime has posthumously published Westlake's novel as one of its infamous lost novels. Westlake put a lot of different elements into this story starting with a Bond-type mega-villain who runs a corporate empire and has hundreds of guys working to bring his mad schemes to fruition. It is probably a bit light on the Bond girls with the only female character being a young environmentalist and diver, Kim. There's mad scientist schemes, revenge schemes, man on the run themes, a sardonic sense of humor, and a race against time to the climax at the end. It is quite readable although it suffers from unnecessary length. A shorter, more terse, compact story would probably have been more satisfying. Part of the length though is the circumstances of it having been developed out of a movie treatment rather than having been conceived as a novel in the first place.
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  • Ronald Koltnow
    June 7, 2017
    Many manuscripts that have lain dormant have been resurrected, for good or ill, by publishers since the dawn of recorded time (hyperbole, I know). Billy Budd is an example of a good one. Add to that too short list Donald E. Westlake's return FOREVER AND A DEATH. Spoiler Alert: Billy Budd is the better book. FOREVER is a reworked treatment for a James Bond film that was never made. There are many Bond tropes in the novel but no overt Bond surrogate. It is simply a joy to revisit Don's wit and plo Many manuscripts that have lain dormant have been resurrected, for good or ill, by publishers since the dawn of recorded time (hyperbole, I know). Billy Budd is an example of a good one. Add to that too short list Donald E. Westlake's return FOREVER AND A DEATH. Spoiler Alert: Billy Budd is the better book. FOREVER is a reworked treatment for a James Bond film that was never made. There are many Bond tropes in the novel but no overt Bond surrogate. It is simply a joy to revisit Don's wit and plotting expertise, all driven by portraits of disparate characters whom Don imbues with lives of their own. As in the Stark novels, there are asides as Don introduces the petty eccentricities of those not the focus of the main story. The plot itself is pure pulp fantasy, an evil power broker with plans of vengeance. In these post-election days it is difficult to not see real estate tycoons as malevolent, but Richard Curtis is an extreme example of the genus. There are dated elements in the book -- people do a lot of communicating by FAX -- and one plot twist is just a tad too coincidental. However, it is a joy to read. Were it not impossible to do so, given the importance of the Chinese market to film studios, this would make a crackerjack movie. It's that cinematic. Thank you, Charles Ardai and Hard Case Crime, for making this available to us.
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  • Michael Brown
    June 27, 2017
    A slow and plodding start. The pace picks up as Westlake moves from his normal format of crime and hard times to a modern tale of revenge and politics. Was supposed to be a script concept for a James Bond film that never developed as the studio wanted so became a stand alone novel without the spy aspect. Works out just fine.
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