The Sex Broker, by Ginger Craig
September, 1974 Pinnacle Books
This Pinnacle PBO is of a piece with the sleazy paperbacks Dell Books was publishing at the time: a sex-themed comedy with a photo cover, a la Black Magic, Michelle, My Belle, and Making U-Hoo. And, sadly, The Sex Broker is just as lame as those similar Dell books…an unfunny “comedy” that quickly grates on the reader’s nerves. It’s also an episodic affair that reminded me so much of the massage parlor novels of “Jennifer Sills,” at least in its episodic structure, that I wondered if the same author was responsible: Stephen Lewis, a very prolific author of sleazy PBOs at the time and who used a variety of pseudonyms.
The Pinnacle offering The Sex Broker most resembles is The True Confessions & Wild Adventures Of Two Rent-A-Girls, which too was an episodic affair that traded more on laughs than sleazy action. And it follows the same conceit: that the author, Ginger Craig, is a real person. She’s credited in the Catalog Of Copyright Entries, at least. But is/was Ginger Craig a real person, or just a pseudonymous author…perhaps another pseudonym of Stephen Lewis? We’ll probably never know. What makes it annoying though is that “Ginger” tells us absolutely nothing about herself, and the reader must do some heavy lifting to finally deduce that she makes her living as a model. Hell, we don’t even learn until page 145 (of a 180-some page book) that she’s a brunette. The hair color isn’t really a big deal; what is a big deal is that we spend so much of The Sex Broker wondering who the heck our author even is, so a little setup would’ve been beneficial.
But Ginger isn’t really our protagonist: that would be Uncle Ben, the titular “sex broker,” a nebbish guy with a big nose, awkward social manners, outdated clothes, and unsafe-for-today sexual interests (we learn almost casually that he likes underaged girls – yep, it’s a ‘70s book, folks). The “novel” is made up of Ginger’s stories about various moments in Uncle Ben’s career; moments in which “the sex broker” interfered with and ultimately jacked-up Ginger’s life. Again, the fact that we have zero setup on who Ginger is ultimately detracts from the story, and also despite being marketed as a true story it’s all clearly fiction, as Uncle Ben’s shenanigans nearly spark a world war.
Now what differentiates a sex broker from a pimp, Ginger tells us, is that Uncle Ben doesn’t have a “stable” of girls that he rules. What he does is find out of work models or actresses or bored housewives and hook them up with his clientele of horny businessmen. This means that Uncle Ben has schmoozing skills, able to talk random women into basically becoming whores, though he doesn’t pay them – we learn the grateful men will often give them presents or whatnot. Uncle Ben also likes to find girls who are eager for adventure, ones who might have a job and even be a happy housewife, but who are looking for some action on the side. This, Ginger vaguely informs us, is the category she fits in: she’s got a job she loves, she travels around the world and sleeps with a variety of men, she’s “pretty” (the absolute maximum description we get of her), and thus Uncle Ben is crazed to make her one of his girls. Actually, here is Ginger’s explanation of Uncle Ben’s services:
Whoever staged the cover photo must’ve gotten specific directions from the publisher, as Uncle Ben looks and dresses much as pictured when Ginger meets him. This is at a party in Los Angeles, where Ginger first spots Uncle Ben, dressed in a safari suit and up to what will prove to be his usual antics of acquiring women for his clientele. But as Ginger soon learns, Uncle Ben has a fondness for giving voice to outrageous propositions; in truth, Ben’s dialog is more filthy than the actual sex scenes in the novel. Shortly after this, Ginger sees Ben again – in London. How or why Ginger’s even in London is something we are not told. We are told though that her affair with a married man is broken off here, and she flies back to New York a crying, drunken wreck.
What follows is one of the very few scenes where Ginger herself takes part in the action, and is also the most explicit sequence in the novel. Uncle Ben, who again magically appears, barges into Ginger’s hotel room and asks her if she’s “ever hate-fucked anyone.” Ben is planning a little orgy for some clients and needs a third girl for it, and Ginger would be perfect – she could bang out her anger over being dumped. Ginger ends up going to the orgy just to spite Ben, leading to a funny sequence where she keeps taunting the men and Ben. But regardless she gets into the act (“I had never hate-fucked anyone before, but it wasn’t difficult to get the hang of it.”), mostly because one of the two men looks a little like the married guy who just dumped her. The author doesn’t get super explicit here, but we do get enough kinky detail on how Ginger and the other girls take turns with the guys…and then Ginger bites the dick of one of the guys(!). This, we learn, has been her goal all along – to really mess up Uncle Ben’s orgy, so that he’ll never bother her again.
From here the novel takes on its episodic approach, Ginger relating the various times she would encounter Uncle Ben again. In most all cases Ginger herself has nothing to do with the sexual festivities, but Ben uses her as either a sounding board for his weird ideas or, in one notable sequence, he uses her apartment as a waystation for a couple girls he’s brought in from Texas. But really it’s just a bunch of random stories concerning Uncle Ben up to this or that kinky nefariousness, with Ginger acting as his perennially-aggrieved straight (wo)man. The conceit quickly gets old, as Ginger at this point has nothing to do with Uncle Ben, yet he keeps calling her up with his plans for other people, or involving her in some fashion. I soon wondered why the author didn’t just make Uncle Ben himself the protagonist and dispense with the “Ginger Craig” conceit.
Ginger meanwhile has her own torrid love life, which she occasionally informs us of…just as vaguely as she informs us about most everything else in her life. There will be parts where she’s out with her latest stud in some city, and of course Uncle Ben will show up to sour the festivities. Sometimes this leads to comedic results, like for example Ginger’s latest guy becoming certain that Ginger herself is just a hooker. But there’s no connecting thread to the various chapters, no overall storyline. It’s just a seemingly random snapshot of various Uncle Ben shenanigans, like a touring exotic play he puts together, or various orgies he throws for clients. And the humor is very “risque ‘70s,” like the related tale of the orgy Ben throws together for a businessman, one who likes real young gals…and right before the gal starts giving him a bj the guy flips on the lights and sees that it’s none other than his own teenaged daughter.
But clearly it’s all fiction, and the “true story” stuff is just typical of the era’s sex-themed publications. The finale in particular highlights this, with Uncle Ben running afoul of Chinese spies, Russian spies, and the FBI. And appropriately it all takes place at Ginger’s place, complete with her mother walking into the spectacle (certain afterwards that her daughter is some sort of international whore) and Ginger ultimately arrested by the FBI for spying. But this we’re to understand is the final straw, as Ginger relates that after she got her name cleared the first thing she did was buy a trained attack dog, one that will go for Uncle Ben’s throat if he ever comes near her again.
Well anyway, this was yet another ‘70s sex comedy that wasn’t sexy or funny. The sexual material is pretty scant, not nearly as explicit as you’d expect, and the comedy gets old very quickly. The only interesting thing was the mystery over whether Ginger Craig was a real person or not, and even that wasn’t so interesting.