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A Cutthroat Business (A Savannah Martin Mystery #1)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  2,302 Ratings  ·  223 Reviews
Everyone has warned newly-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 al ...more
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published May 1st 2011 (first published June 29th 2010)
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Teresa Collins
The Amazon tag for this book said any fan of Stephanie Plum would be sure to enjoy Savannah Martin. Well, whoever wrote that has not read Stephanie Plum. She and Savannah are worlds apart. True, they are each trying to find their place in the world, have crazy family and friends,and a mysterious "is he a good guy, is he a bad guy?" man in their lives, but that's where the similarities end. The Stephanie Plum stories are humorous, tightly written, with unexpected twists and turns. This story mean ...more
May 08, 2013 Susie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 2013
I was conflicted on how to rate this. The mystery was good and kept me turning the pages. The writing was ok, but the editing left a bit to be desired. Choppy sentences and misused commas. But the characters...

I'm not from the south so maybe I don't understand, but the blatant racism and snobbery was a huge turn off for me. The main character's, Savannah, mother refers to someone as "colored". Savannah's friends from home are in her business and intrusive, and she is plain old snobby and spinele
May 27, 2015 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I'm not usually one for a cozy mystery, but this one looked entertaining and had been hanging out on my Kobo for a long time, so I gave it a shot.

When Savannah Martin is called to show a client a house because a fellow real estate agent and rival didn't make the appointment, she jumps at the chance. She doesn't expect that the person calling is a guy she knew in high school, nor does she expect to find her rival dead in the house. Savannah decides to do some sleuthing, but the plot thickens when
Dec 03, 2012 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jeanie Jackson
Sep 03, 2012 Jeanie Jackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery-etc

In the well written first book of this cozy mystery series, Savannah has a lot to learn about the real world, but she is well on her way, and a sexy rebel from her past may be just the man to teach her.

The man of her mother's dream has divorced Savannah, and she is nearing the end of the money from the settlement. The real estate business is pretty cutthroat even within her office, but she needs the money and likes her boss well enough to hang on despite the jerks who work there. She has not sol
May 17, 2012 Kristen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serial-cozy, 2012
In this brand new series by Bente Gallagher, we enter the world of real estate and how the business work. Savannah Martin, a newbie realtor in Tennessee, is our narrator. We learn how she's treated by experienced co-workers in the realty business. But nothing crushes her spirit. We follow her to her first showing on a listing with a client and what happens afterwards. We see how she struggles in the business, especially picking up clients, and how her life is turned around. Two people from her p ...more
Jun 25, 2013 Leah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I just couldn't get into the main character. I found her very unlikeable. She seemed to try to hide heavy racism and general snootiness behind a guise of southern upbringing.

Truthfully I live in the south and while most of us are good people the southern belles with their Mrs. degrees and 'bless his heart' criticisms just don't work for me in real life either.

The two stars, vs one is because of the other characters. I did like Rafe, his background story was interesting to me. Especially the fa
Oct 15, 2014 Hana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, detective
It was rather boring, the heroine strange - I quite don't understand why she fainted when Rafe tried to kiss her and all the southern belle stuff was more annoying than funny. Also the fact that Rafe could do math very quickly in his head came out of blue and wasn't explored more. Besides I didn't understand the secrecy of his occupation - it was logical in the first part of the book but I did expect to learn more about him by the end of the story. All in all, quite a big disappointment. Yet the ...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
We have a new Sleuth in town who in turn, is a new real estate broker. She is learning her way in the business, anxious to show a house, and wham, she is shocked by the client, and the body laying in the house.

Off, Savannah goes and we go with her.

The dialog was amusing, and the mystery was a solid one. You quickly care about the characters and by the ending, you want to see where and what Savannah gets to go next.

A very good book.
Jan 24, 2015 Stacy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's what I liked: Savannah herself. She's not following the family line, and it seems to work for her. Rafe--yum. Nashville as a setting. Dix, who might grow into a decent character.

What I didn't like: implied racism as story device. Todd, who I wanted to smack for his controlling ways. Tim, who practically screams stereotype. And the police detective-- too easily swayed by a civilian.

It was free, but I won't read anymore of the series. Too much I didn't like.
Sonia Cristina
Para início de série, não está mal e promete para os próximos volumes.
Rafe, claro, é magnetizante e interessante, estou ansiosa por que as coisas fiquem melhores entre ele e Savannah para a série ganhar algo mais especial. Até agora, gostei daquela espécie de dança dele em volta dela e ela a fazer-se despercebida e desinteressada.
A Savannah também é engraçada e adoro aquele seu jeito de ser, à "Southern belle", com as suas boas maneiras.
Feb 11, 2013 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-free
I guess about a 2.5 would be right for this one. It was okay. The romantic elements were not as annoying in this book as they often are, but the wrongly placed commas just ruined it for me. Also sometimes the character was just a little too stupid. She is ordered to tell nobody about something but tells two people in very short time.
Feb 21, 2017 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really fun read. Interesting story line, colorful characters and lots of Southern charm. Oh, and did I mention the tall, dark, and handsome man?
Chris Blackton
Mar 18, 2017 Chris Blackton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next in the series, however It doesn't compare to Stephanie Plum. There is humour and flirting but still falls short of Evanovich. I recommend it because it was a good read.
Dec 06, 2011 bella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Teresa Snyder
Enjoyable. Mystery? Romance? Probably more mystery. I didn't figure out the villain until it was reviled. Rafe was enjoyable; Savannah too. Nothing memorable about the secondary characters. I don't know that I'll read all 14 (currently) books in the series, but I am moving on to book 2.
Jan 28, 2012 Hannah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
3.5 stars. A Cutthroat Business is a great start to a new series by Jenna Bennett (or Bente Gallagher/Jennie Bentley) featuring a smart and refreshingly ladylike protagonist, Savannah Martin. The fact that Savannah is a real estate agent is an interesting change from the usual amateur detective sideline – I’ve probably read about everything from cooks to antique collectors, but this is the first time I’ve come across one to do with real estate. As someone who’s worked in that industry, it’s a lo ...more
Carol Kean
Normally I avoid whoddunits,"chick-lit mysteries" and romantic suspense. Overall, these genres tend to deliver what book-buying fans want. The motorcycle-riding bad boy from back home, Rafe, sounds like a great character, until he speaks one Southern cliche after another. I'm astounded that he's attracted to catty, rude Savannah, the novice realtor. I'm also astounded that I read every single page of this book because it held my attention to the very end, in spite of the cliches and over-done pr ...more
Dec 31, 2010 Kourtney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It made my flight back from San Diego fly by. I fell in love with the 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.
The author 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 t
Curly Carla Celebrity Readers

This blurb is misleading for me. For instance, the “making no bones about what he wants from her.” is wrong. Maybe I’m dense but it didn’t seem he wanted anything from her. Actually it seemed he was indifferent to her. And she made it very clear from the beginning that she wasn’t into him. They both seemed very cordial to each other, I never felt any goosebumps from their interactions and she was dating someone else during their meetings anyway. So that kn
Jan 28, 2013 Judie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Savannah Martin is trying to build a career as a realtor in Nashville, Tennessee. After two months without making any sales, she answered the phone at the office when a potential client called to say he was supposed to meet Brenda Puckett, one of her colleagues at a house The woman, who happened to be the top salesperson, had not shown up and he had been waiting for 45 minutes.
Savannah drove to the house, which was listed for almost $250,000, and discovered that she knew the client from high
Elizabeth Noah Astle
Savannah Martin, a proper Southern Belle who has gone to finishing school, is divorced, and has all the proper manners so she thinks. I have to say that Savannah was annoying--I did not like her personality at all---I can deal with quirks that people have but, she was way over the top. Stating that she refuses to order desert while dining with a male suitor regardless of how much she wants to have one while stating that she is about through her savings. The prim and proper was getting to me.

Kathleen Kelly
Jan 02, 2010 Kathleen Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
This is a great mystery story mixed with the good guys and the bad guys and the people who are not detectives but try to figure out two murders anyway. Savannah Martin, a real estate agent who is not doing too well selling houses at the moment, gets a call from a prospective buyer that the agent that was supposed to show this particular house never showed up. Savanah reluctantly goes to show the house and between her and the prospective buyer, Rafe Collier, who was a classmate to Savannah in hig ...more
Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
This is a cozy mystery, wrapped up in 'Southern Hospitality'. Savannah is a Southern Belle, who went to Finishing School, but ended up working behind a make-up counter. Following her divorce, she decides to re-train and throws all she has into earning her realtor's license. Being at the bottom of the pack means that she will have to work hard to earn her place, and make her first sale. An opportunity seems to arrive when one of her rivals doesn't show for an appointment. The client she was meeti ...more
Zoey Hardy
Sep 10, 2016 Zoey Hardy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It never takes me this long to read a book, but this was not a fun book. Savannah is such an annoying character. She never stops talking about how "lady-like" she is. Any writer knows you show, you don't tell ... but that's all she does is bring it up over and over. And finishing school? Seriously?
The mystery is even that intriguing. If I can figure it out, it's not complicated. The characters are either hateful, snobby, or stoic.
Skip this one. You'll be glad you didn't waste your time.
Sherry Lynn
Jan 10, 2017 Sherry Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another new one to add to the favorites list. I can't wait to get a chance to read book 2 and the remainder of the series.

This was a fun read and kept too interested! I had a hard time getting anything done. I kept wanting to know 'who dun it' and I kind a was wanting to the romance to continue.

I loved the main characters and I can't wait to see if they ever do end up as a couple. Sorry to spill the beans but they didn't in book 1. There's a lot of sizzle. But no bedroom scenes.
Other than the
Jun 30, 2016 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book and all 12 of the Savannah Martin books. As with most series, I thought some of the books were better than others, but overall, I enjoyed them. Part of the reason is that I live in the area where these books are set. So when Savannah is barreling down Donelson Parkway, or a character is originally from Franklin, I know where they are. That makes them a lot of fun reading for me.

While these books are a fun read, Ms. Bennett addresses how we view race and class in a thought- pr
Michelle List
Aug 10, 2012 Michelle List rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good manners, and a flattering lipstick, are indispensable assets to the new Southern woman...

Savannah Martin, her mother Margaret Anne Martin nee Dixon, her brother Dixon Calvert Martin, enigma Rafael Collier, Detective Tamara Grimaldi, Officers Spicer and Truman, teenager Alexandra Puckett, Rafe's friend Marquita, homeowner Tondalia Jenkins; these are some of the more interesting characters introduced in this first "Savannah Martin Mystery". I left out almost everyone who could realistically b
Mar 16, 2010 Kristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gotta say I liked this one. Bente has that tongue-in-cheek humor that I love. While "A Cutthroat Business" is a murder mystery based around a real estate agent, I think we can all relate with the main character in some way. It always makes me happy when I read a story I can connect with. G.R.I.T.S. anyone? You Southerners know what I'm talking about, but for anyone who doesn't....Girls Raised In The South. Bente really got across that southern flair in this book.
I really liked the storyline it
Savannah Martin is a newcomer to the real estate business. She is disappointed that despite a lot of work nothing real has materialised (as yet). Her savings have gone down to precarious levels and she does not want to run back home to Mother just yet. Savannah is at a good agency but she did not also realise what a harsh business this was. Each man for himself and God for us all seems to be the policy and if in the process you get sidelined or hurt, tough luck.

Whilst on business and showing a c
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Madison Mega-Mara...: A Cutthroat Business - 13th Feb Book 1 3 Feb 23, 2013 12:57PM  
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Jenna Bennett writes the USA Today bestselling Cutthroat Business mysteries featuring Southern Belle and new-minted real estate agent Savannah Martin in Nashville, Tennessee.

As Jennie Bentley, she writes the New York Times bestselling Do-It-Yourself Home Renovation mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime, featuring designer and amateur sleuth Avery Baker and her boyfriend, handyman Derek Ellis, who ren
More about Jenna Bennett...

Other Books in the Series

A Savannah Martin Mystery (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Hot Property (A Savannah Martin Mystery, #2)
  • Contract Pending (A Savannah Martin Mystery, #3)
  • Close to Home (A Savannah Martin Mystery, #4)
  • A Done Deal (A Savannah Martin Mystery, #5)
  • Change of Heart (A Savannah Martin Mystery, #6)
  • Kickout Clause (A Savannah Martin Mystery, #7)
  • Past Due (A Savannah Martin Mystery, #8)
  • Dirty Deeds ( A Savannah Martin Mystery, #9 )
  • Unfinished Business (A Savannah Martin Mystery, #10)
  • Busman's Honeymoon: the Savannah Martin Honeymoon Novella (Savannah Martin Mysteries)

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