Although James Bond and his twisted doppelganger Austen Powers are certainly rabid womanisers, there is something intrinsically camp about the whole secret agent schtick. And it turns out there is nothing new about gay secret agents.

Gay pulp novelist Victor J. Banis became quite an underground cult sensation with his Man From C.A.M.P. series of gay erotic spy stories. Three of these have recently been reissued in a single volume.

C.A.M.P. is a secret organisation dedicated to the protection of homosexuals and the elimination of homophobia and its evil tyrants. Like all good secret organisations it has a secret headquarters, in this case entered through a trick door in the out-of-order cubicle in the toilets at the back of LA gay bar The Round Up.

The hero of these remarkable books is the blonde effete Jackie Holmes. In The Man From C.A.M.P., Jackie must use his skills as a world-class expert in gemmology, expert marksman, Bugatti mechanic, and irresistible sexpot to stop a gay diamond counterfeiting ring whose illicit activities could ruin the diamond industry and destabilise the world economy.

In Holiday Gay, Jackie takes on his arch-nemesis Birdie Wing (a villain as sinister and colourful as any from the Batman television series) and his fiendish gang of gay midget outlaws, the Swallows. Add a cadre of sinister Santas and dozens of missing jewels to the mix and you’ve got a plot that can only be unravelled by the Man from C.A.M.P.

Finally, The Son Goes Down finds Jackie balls-deep in international intrigue, investigating a bizarre kidnapping ring that takes him from LA to Tijuana and on to Lisbon.
These books are a madcap romp that devotees of camp will love.

That Man From C.A.M.P. by Victor Banis is published by Southern Tier Editions.

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