Book Review: 'Call Girl Confidential'

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rebecca Kade. Gallery, 230 pp. $26

The description of this book sounds like a USA original television series: an intelligent high-class escort goes undercover as a confidential informant to help take down the very successful and elusive Soccer Mom Madam. And yet, it's a true story told in the memoir by Rebecca Kade.

Kade went into the escort business to pay for the mounting legal bills associated in the custody battle she was in with her ex-boyfriend over their daughter. He could hire the best lawyers to convince a judge of her inability to care properly for the girl, and in order to stand a chance against him she needed lawyers of equal caliber. According to her, the escort business was her only option.

But she made it work. She learned the business, both from her madams and from her clients. She was intelligent and could hold a conversation with the high-powered men who solicited her services, and this made her more popular and, as a result, more money.

When her first madam, Kristin Davis or "The Manhattan Madam" was arrested, however, she was approached by the Manhattan District Attorney with the request to help take down Anna Gristina, known as "The Soccer Mom Madam." Gristina was cautious to the point of paranoia, but had managed to keep her operation going for nearly 15 years.

Kade's memoir, "Call Girl Confidential," recounts her experiences both getting into the escort business and taking down Gristina. It's an entertaining read, though there is a small disconnect between "Kade the character" and "Kade the author." Kade the Character is tough, intelligent and in control. Kade the author is a victim. Nearly everything she does is a reaction to something that has been done to her.

While an insightful new perspective into the escort business and experience as a confidential informant, "Call Girl Confidential" is far from inspirational. What it is, however, is the story of a mother who will to any length necessarily in order to rebuild her family.

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