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Corruption

Novel by Peter Saxon 1967.

This is an excellent example of a good idea executed badly. Not that this is the fault of Stephen D Frances, writing as 'Peter Saxon', it lies exclusively with the writers of the film script he had to work from. Sir John Rowan, renowned plastic surgeon, and Lynn Nolan, famous model, are very much in love and are due to marry. But when a burning hot spotlight crashes down on to Lynn's face, their lives are changed forever. Lynn doesn't want to live if her beauty is gone, and only John believes that it can be restored. With glands from a fresh corpse at the hospital, he gives her back her beauty and she is happy once more. But the effects are only temporary and he must kill to get more glands.

The main flaw here is the same as in Michael Falconer Anderson's The Woodsmen or Guy N. Smith's The Dark One - reliance on too few characters. Lynn's deterioration of character as she becomes obsessed with her beauty, and John's deterioration of mind as he is torn between horror at his murderous deeds and obsessive love for Lynn, are worthy central themes for the book, but they would have worked so much better with other characters for them to bounce off. At best, Frances goes some way towards turning a mediocre script into a decent novel, but the task was just too big. An interesting concept makes for an interesting book, but little else, and those after the concept might prefer to search for Tom Owen's novelisation of Circus of Horrors.


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