A Cutthroat Business

Rated 4.54/5 based on 14 reviews
"A frothy girl drink of houses, hunks and whodunit, narrated in a breezy first person,"* this sexy and sassy mystery from nationally bestselling author Jenna Bennett "will delight fans of chick-lit mysteries and romantic suspense."**

88,000 words; first in the Savannah Martin Southern real estate mysteries.

* Nashville Scene
** Library Journal More
Download: epub mobi (Kindle) pdf more Online Reader
Price: Free! USD
Words: 90,460
Language: English
ISBN: 9781458016478
About Jenna Bennett

Jenna Bennett AKA Jennie Bentley is the New York Times bestselling author of the Do It Yourself home renovation mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime, as well as of the Savannah Martin Southern Real Estate mysteries. A former Realtor® and home renovator, she lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with a husband and two boys, a hyperactive dog, a killer parakeet, two goldfish and two African Dwarf frogs. A native of Norway, she's spent the past twenty years in the US, and still hasn't been able to kick her native accent. You will not, however, notice it when you're reading her books.

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Reviews

Review by: Marianne Curtis on Dec. 26, 2012 :
What an enjoyable little story!!! I loved the heroine – strong yet witty; she reminded me of someone I know. It has been over twenty years since I walked away from my addiction of romance series (I loved romantic trilogies), but I enjoyed this one so much, I am looking for “Hot Property” because I cant wait to see what happens with Savannah and Rafe.

Marianne Curtis
Author
Finding Gloria, Moondust and Madness: A collection of Poetry, Behind Whispering Pines and Brian's Last Ride
(review of free book)

Review by: Bella McGuire on Dec. 08, 2011 :
I discovered A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS after I found the short story THE BODDY IN THE SNOWBANK by Jenna Bennett, and I wanted to read more of her books.

A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS is a mystery involving a Savannah Martin, a Southern Belle turned realtor, who gets mixed up with a bad boy, by the way of sexy Rafe Collier, and trips over a murdered colleague. What follows is fun and adventure as Savannah tries to solve the murder, before the murderer strikes again!

Before I start I have to tell my readers, that I have a long love/hate relationship with eBooks. I've had two eReaders and both of them were failed experiments. I just don't do well with the eReading phenomena. I like to hold a book and turn the page and yes *gasp* I like to crack the spine. I've all but given up the idea of reading full-length eBooks. However, after reading THE BODDY IN THE SNOWBANK, I connected with the author, Jenna Bennett, on Twitter and she convinced me that A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS was that good, and I just had to read it.

So I abandoned my beautiful paper books and I picked up the iPad and downloaded A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS from Smashwords.

Guess what I discovered? Jenna Bennett was absolutely right!!! A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS grabbed my attention from the very first page. There were so many laugh-out-loud moments, that at one time I almost coughed a mouthful of lemon gelato up all over the screen!! The sexual tension between good girl, Savannah, and bad boy, Rafe, had my toes curling repeatedly. After the first chapter, I was so immersed in the story and didn't even notice that I wasn't reading a paper book.

I simply adored Savannah. Of all the amateur sleuths I've read recently, she has climbed up to the top of my list and completely knocked Stephanie Plum from the #1 spot. She has all of Stephanie Plum's sass and need for adventure, but with southern charm and she's not silly at all. With her southern ways you would expect her to maybe be a little silly, but she's not. She's sweet and assertive and oh so wonderful...
“Top of the morning to you, Savannah!”
I smiled back, or more accurately, showed teeth. “Hi, Tim.”
“You look smashing today. Have a good weekend?” His bright baby blue eyes were malicious.
“Great,” I said dryly, knowing full well that I looked like death warmed over. “Stumbling over a bloody corpse, especially one I know, is definitely my idea of a good time. There’s nothing quite like a whole lot of blood to give a girl some color in her cheeks.”

I really enjoyed the mystery. It kept me guessing right up to the end, and it was full of lots of realtor knowledge. By the end I actually felt like I'd learnt something about realtors and their dealings every day. This made the story feel very well researched, and as all the pieces of the puzzle fell in place together it left me feeling like I'd read a well put-together story.

I give A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS five stars. If you enjoy your cozy mysteries with a good shot of romance, and a love triangle with a sexy bad boy and a Southern gentleman in the mix, then you will love this book. A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS is very reminiscent of the Stephanie Plum books, but the laughs are louder, the romance is sexier and there is a great murder mystery to top it off.

Don't hesitate to add A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS to your holiday reading. Readers, you won't be disappointed!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Linda Andrews on Nov. 28, 2011 :
Savannah Martin is just starting out in the real estate business. When a call comes on a Saturday morning, she's quick to take it hoping it will lead to her first sale. It leads to a reunion with a bad boy from her past, Rafael Collier, and her first dead body.

Cutthroat Business is a charming mystery rife with Southern hospitality and genteel manners. Savannah is a remarkable heroine who's trying to make her way in the modern world while clinging to the comforts of the past and dodging her well meaning family and friends. The story is sassy and funny and features not one, but two love interests, including the smoking hot Rafe.

For those who love cozy mysteries, Ms Bennett delivers a tale sure to satisfy.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Linda Andrews on Nov. 28, 2011 : (no rating)
Savannah Martin is just starting out in the real estate business. When a call comes on a Saturday morning, she's quick to take it hoping it will lead to her first sale. It leads to a reunion with a bad boy from her past, Rafael Collier, and her first dead body.

Cutthroat Business is a charming mystery rife with Southern hospitality and genteel manners. Savannah is a remarkable heroine who's trying to make her way in the modern world while clinging to the comforts of the past and dodging her well meaning family and friends. The story is sassy and funny and features not one, but two love interests, including the smoking hot Rafe.

For those who love cozy mysteries, Ms Bennett delivers a tale sure to satisfy.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Jezebel Jorge on June 29, 2011 :
Savannah Martin is such a fun character that you are instantly drawn into her story. I don't read a lot of mysteries, but I enjoyed all the plot twists and turns.

I absolutely loved the ending! It was the perfect cliffhanger to wanting to know what happens next with Savannah and the super hot, Rafe.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Kellie Rix on June 16, 2011 :
Jenna Bennett's A Cutthroat Business is a fantastic mystery starring Nashville, Tennessee real estate agent and Southern Belle, Savannah Martin.
A Cutthroat Business is a fun and sassy read filled with suspense and a touch of romance. When Savannah finds her co-worker, Brenda Puckett, one of the most successful real estate agents in Nashville, with her throat cut, Savannah sets out to find the killer. Along the way, Savannah develops a friendship with Brenda's daughter and reconnects with people she went to high school with - namely Rafe Collier - handsome, mysterious, and small town bad boy. I enjoyed this first in a series and highly recommend it. I will definitely be reading the next one in the series and the one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that....
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Janet Sublich on June 12, 2011 :
Savannah Martin is a quintessential Southern Belle who finds herself in the middle of a murder scene while showing a house. A Cutthroat Business is a fast-paced, enjoyable read. Who knew the real estate business could be so deadly!?! Can't wait til the next one in the series.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Meankitty Publishing on June 02, 2011 :
Savannah Martin is working her little Southern Belle fingers to the bone trying to make her first official sale as a realtor. She works for an agency with a number of employees, from hateful power-saleswoman Brenda to her handsome, distinguished boss. Imagine her delight when a customer telephones one Saturday to complain that Brenda hasn't appeared to show him a house he's interested in. Needless to say, Savannah rushes right over to help.

Imagine her surprise when he's very attractive. Imagine both their surprises when they discover they already know each other from high school, although they weren't exactly friends. Or from the same side of the proverbial tracks. Imagine their much larger surprise when they discover a dead body inside the house. When Savannah tries to find out how the body ended up there and whether Rafe (the hero) had anything to do with it, she finds out that the mystery goes a lot deeper than anyone--except for the dead person and the killer--would ever have expected.

A Cutthroat Business was a fast-paced, entertaining read. I didn't know what it was like to be a realtor, and I enjoyed the worldbuilding side of the story as much as the mystery side. The details felt authentic to me without being boring at all. There was also a heavy dose of romance woven through the plot and a little delicious irony when our heroine kept putting down her own liking for "trashy romance novels" while having some Hollywoodishly swoony reactions to the hero. While the plot didn't ratchet up to a big, tense explosion at the end--the end, in fact, kind of snuck up on me--the conclusion was satisfying anyway and left a believable thread for Savannah and Rafe to continue their relationship, and their amateur PI-ing, in book 2 of the series.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Patricia8891 on May 30, 2011 :
As a reader of the Jennie Bentley DIY cozy mystery series, I was thrilled to receive a free download of the newest series featuring Savannah Martin. I enjoyed reading about new characters caught up in an intriguing mystery under the backdrop of the real estate profession. Needless to say, I will follow this series, too! The author's writing style is fun, easy, and humorous.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Jamie Lee Scott on May 24, 2011 :
I'll leave the plot description to the other reviewers, because they've done a great job.
A Cutthroat Business was a fun, fast read. I loved the characters, and can't wait for the next novel to come out.
Who knew real estate could be so deadly. And as for Rafe, I'd take my chances on making my family mad to have a night with him. hahaha
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Carolyn Rosewood on May 22, 2011 :
A Cutthroat Business by Jenna Bennett was a fun read! Everyone has warned new-minted realtor Savannah Martin that real estate is a cutthroat business. But Savannah doesn’t think she’s supposed to take the warning literally ... until an early morning phone call sends her to an empty house on the ‘bad’ side of town, where she finds herself standing over the butchered body of a competitor, face to face with the boy her mother always warned her about.

Rafe Collier is six feet three inches of testosterone and trouble; tall, dark, and dangerous, with a murky past and no future—not the kind of guy a perfect Southern Belle should want to tangle with. In any way. But wherever Savannah turns, there he is, and making no bones about what he wants from her.

Now Savannah must figure out who killed real estate queen Brenda Puckett, make a success of her new career, and avoid getting killed—or kissed—by Rafe, all before the money in her savings account runs out and she has to go back to selling make-up at the mall.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Addie King on May 15, 2011 :
What a cast of characters! Each one is easily visible in the reader's mind, each has a distinctive voice, and the world of Savannah's family and friends comes through with plenty of accuracy and good humor even when dealing with frustrations with Rafe, her mother, her ex, and a dead body on the job. Great book, wonderful to escape from one's own day-to-day grind!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Dru on May 03, 2011 :
All Savannah wanted was to make her first sale when she agreed to meet Brenda’s client, Rafe Collier, a “bad boy” from her childhood years. Instead when they walked into the house, they find Brenda, dead. Savannah inadvertently starts digging for clues when things don’t add up and everywhere she goes, Rafe is somehow around. She begins to wonder what his role is and is pulled into finding out as much as she can, while trying to keep her distance from him and solving the murder. This was a good mystery, light and fun and I especially love the dialogue and the romantic tension between the Savannah and Rafe. I can’t wait to read the next book, “Hot Property” in this series.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Kourtney Heintz on May 03, 2011 :
I fell in love with her protagonist, Savannah Martin, a southern belle who did everything right but ended up divorced and cash strapped. So she starts out in the real estate business.

Ms. Bennett does a great job here of giving just enough detail to make it realistic without inundating the reader with realtor lingo. She made me interested in real estate. I think that is the mark of a great author, when they make you curious about the career they give their protagonist.

Anyway, in Savannah, you have a likeable heroine who’s got her quirks and flaws, but I immediately signed up to see where the story went because of her. There is amazing voice from page one.

I tend to favor protagonists with a sense of humor and Savannah definitely has that too. Rafe Collier is the bad boy that Savannah gets embroiled with because of the murder at a listing she was showing him. He’s dreamy to read and their chemistry is undeniable.

The supporting characters are also well crafted and you get a vivid image of the other realtors and Savannah’s family. The writing is top notch. A fun read, great pacing, and snappy dialogue.

So onto the plot–really well thought out, I had no idea who the killer was, and I loved following Savannah and Rafe as they looked into things and tried to put the pieces together.

The book is set in Nashville, which I enjoyed after seeing a bit of the city during my time at Killer Nashville. I confess, being a northerner, I do love books set in the south.

I had 100 pages left last night and I couldn’t put the book down. Seriously, I was up until 3:10 AM finishing it. I won’t spoil the ending but I will say it was highly satisfying.

Now I’m dying for the next Savannah Martin Mystery. The blurbs on the book are completely true! If you only have time to read a few mysteries this year, add A Cutthroat Business to your list.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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