Today, we'll start to take a look at Gay Way books, which I erroneously credited as an imprint of Trojan Books' GX Incorporated of Chatsworth, CA. That said, I am not convinced they are unrelated. For one thing, they share a common distribution center, Zorro Distributing Company of San Diego, CA, as well as a similar cover art scheme - black and white pencil/ink drawings on a solid color background, changing the background color every two novels. They also, with the exception of the first four books, have a 'mask of Zorro' icon in the upper left corner on the cover.
But it gets a bit more complicated.
Gay Way began life under the umbrella of the F.S. Publishing Company as Gay Power Line. After four titles, GPL became GW, and after 12 titles in the series, the F.S. Publishing Company became XXX Inc. - both operating out of Pasadena, CA. The reason for all this cup and ball chicanery? It could be a number of things: a means of tax and/or debt evasion, or a means of avoiding prosecution; local law enforcement with the support of the feds were always working to shut these publishing houses down by any means necessary. Censorship laws during the Nixon administration were strictly enforced, the prosecution of those charged, seen as a priority. It was the beginning of the Republican Party's marriage to the fanatical Christian right.
As I researched this imprint, I discovered that many of the books were published without a date. Those that had a date, are from 1970 and 1971. I did my best to find all the covers (35 titles in all), failing five times. Utilizing the archive lists of various libraries, I was able to discover the titles, authors, and catalog numbers for all.
Here are the first 10 titles in the series.
But 'Dick Jones' (if that's not a pseudonym I don't know what is) rushes in where tarnished angels fear to tread, and the result is a memorably nasty and psychologically astute thriller in which Vietnam veteran-turned-covert investigator Jake Gold is forced to hunt a bestial serial killer while still in the grips of post-traumatic shock syndrome. I venture to say that the vast majority of buyers who picked up Man Eater expecting a titillating one-handed read got an ugly surprise when they discovered just how literal the title was. - Maitland McDonagh