Title: A Cutthroat Business
Author: Jenna Bennett
Length: 266 pages
Genre: Murder mystery
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Whoever thought that the world of real estate could be so violent? Savannah Martin certainly didn't expect it when she began work as an estate agent- competitiveness, yes, but murder? What a ridiculous notion! But with one of her colleagues dead, her throat slit in a house Savannah was due to be showing, Savannah feels the need to investigate. And it doesn't help that one of the main suspects is Rafe Collier, the rather hot bad boy from Savannah's past, who is showing a great deal of interest in Savannah.
There is something about this book that just didn't click with me. I think it was Savannah herself. I've read books with southern heroines before and loved them (Sookie Stackhouse is southern sass in a cute but increasingly bad-ass package), but Savannah just wasn't my type of Southern Belle. She was a tad too uptight, and would probably be much better as a character if she got laid and stopped worrying about what her Momma would think if she was seen with Rafe Collier on a date. I'm hoping that happens for her in the second book. But yeah, I stopped reading at one point and it was a good fortnight before I got back into the story again. But, once I did get into it, the story was interesting, the mystery solved plausibly (even if the answer fell into Savannah's lap), and I only guessed half of the big plot developments before they were unveiled. A Cutthroat Business served excellently as an introductory book that marks the start of a long running series; at present there are five Savannah Martin Mysteries, and one novella, and all the sequels are rated higher on Goodreads.com than the first in the series. The supporting cast of characters is large, but suitably varied- some of them were rather annoying, but I am hoping they will come into their own in the next book.
Overall, this book is worth checking out, mostly because it is a free read. The chemistry between Savannah and Rafe, as well as Rafe's character in general, is enough to save the book from being just mediocre, but I have read much better murder mysteries in the past few years. 6.5 stars.