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Psychological Thrillers

While still working on his last Fedora novels, Cory looked for other outlets for his creative talents and began to write psychological thrillers.

The first of these, Deadfall, examines the life of a solitary jewel thief, and his vulnerabilities. In its review, Books and Bookmen comments, “there is a peculiar flavour of high-minded depravity … and the burglary scenes are even more exciting than the sexy ones". Deadfall proved to be Cory’s most successful book financially, 20th Century Fox taking it up as a movie starring Michael Caine, directed by Bryan Forbes, with John Barry composing the theme music. .

Original Title Year
Deadfall 1965
The Night Hawk 1969
Take My Drum to England
(published as Even if You Run in the USA)
A Bit of a Shunt Up the River 1974
The Circe Complex 1975
Bennett 1977

The next novel, The Night Hawk, focuses on an expert killer and Spanish nobleman, and ultimately focuses on the relationships that haunt his family. The novel was one of Cory's favourites, and it went on to win the Crime Critics Choice of the Year award. Take My Drum to England maps the world of the bomber, the hijacker, the social reject who builds an illusion of power.

While writing the psychological novels, Cory was living in Penarth, Wales as well as in Torreblanca, Spain, but he did not use Wales as a setting until the mid 70s. A Bit of a Shunt Up the River was published only in the USA, and investigates the relationship between the pursuer and the pursued, with a very suspenseful car chase included. The Circe Complex, as its name implies, centres on the hypnotic effect exercised by a woman on several men who are hunting stolen jewels. In addition, it scrutinizes concepts of honesty since three of the men are “honest” while one is an ex-convict. The book went on to win the Sunday Times' Best Crime Novel of the Year, and was subsequently made into a 6 part Thames TV series.

The last psychological novel takes advantage of Cory’s familiarity with Spain. Bennett, written in 1977, has an unusual twist. A British detective aptly named Hunter is sent to Spain to find Bennett, a murder suspect. What he finds is a journal indicating that there are two people with that name, one of whom seems to be taking over the identity of the other.




Book Reviews
The Night Hawk
"There is the enjoyment of an intelligent, serious, imaginative novel which, even if judged by the highest standards, is still in my opinion, quite considerable." - The Times
"A potent, memorable piece of work" - The Sunday Times

"A remarkable literate suspense story.. Certainly Cory's name will be one to reckon with after this."- The Book Buyer's Guide

The Circe Complex
"A joy of a book...it's all racy stuff, the prose designedly veering between Cory's natural sinewiness and a kind of sub-Chandlerese"- The Scotman
©2011 Desmond Cory., All rights reserved.