Top Producer

A Novel of Suspense

Fiction - Suspense
248 Pages
Reviewed on 05/20/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Laura Wolfe spent five years selling real estate in downtown Chicago where she became one of her firm’s “top producers,” but never by the means utilized by the characters in her novel. Her YA mystery, Trail of Secrets, was named as a Finalist in the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Award (First Novel category.) Her second novel, Barn Shadows, was shortlisted in the 2018 Chanticleer Paranormal Book Awards. She is an active member of multiple writing groups, including Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. Laura enjoys living in Ann Arbor, MI, with her husband, two children, and one spoiled rescue dog. She recently signed a three-book deal with Bookouture for her upcoming adult suspense novels.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Sherri Fulmer Moorer for Readers' Favorite

Mara Butler believes her lousy luck has finally changed when she lands a job with Jacqueline Henderson, one of Chicago's top real estate agents. As a newbie in the business and fresh out of a firing and a failed romantic relationship, she believes her new career will not only launch her into the adulthood of her dreams but allow her to help with the bills from her younger sister's battle with cancer. She's excited about this opportunity until she gets a mysterious text from Jacqueline's former assistant, warning her against taking the job. But as so many twenty-somethings starting out in the world, she needs the job and all the perks it offers to set her life straight. Mara disregards the warning and dives fully into Jacqueline's real estate world, only to find out that it's a dirtier business than she ever imagined as Jacqueline takes unethical and ruthless actions to ensure that she will be next year's Top Producer for the Chicago area. Top Producer, by Laura Wolfe, is an excellently written mystery with an ending that you'll never see coming.

I loved Top Producer for so many reasons. It's a solid suspense novel, and I can relate both to Mara's desperation to become successful in young adulthood as well as Jacqueline's desperation to reach the pinnacle of her career. Both are characters very much like people you meet in real life, right down to questionable ethics and even more questionable actions as they both vie to be the "best of the best," albeit for different reasons. Laura Wolfe did an excellent job of creating a world that perfectly reflects ours, and the quiet desperation that we all feel from time to time in our chosen careers. But more than that, this is just a great, intriguing, novel. Definitely my first "top pick of 2020." You've got to read this novel!

Rabia Tanveer

Top Producer: A Novel of Suspense by Laura Wolfe is the story of a woman who thought she had landed her dream job, but she was not ready for the consequences of making her dreams come true. Mara Butler thought she was the luckiest person to have landed a job with Jacqueline Hendersen, the top realtor in Chicago. She was happy to pay off some of the medical bills as her sister Emma fights cancer. Her new job was supposed to be the answer to her prayers, but it seems like her troubles aren’t going to leave her just yet. Mara finds out that her boss isn’t the most law-abiding citizen and isn’t above breaking a few laws. Jacqueline is obsessed with the Top Producer award and she is ready to do whatever it takes to win it. However, something happens to her boss’s main competitor that makes Mara scared for her life. Suddenly, her perfect job isn’t so perfect anymore. Is Mara at risk of losing more than just her job? Is her boss as deranged as Mara fears?

Intense, fast-paced, and well-written, Top Producer is one of those suspense novels that will have you hooked from the moment the story begins. Laura Wolfe opens with a powerful scene that sets the right tone and makes the reader anticipate what will happen next. The glimpses into Mara’s life are detailed and expansive; the reader gets to see her as a sister, as a provider, as a hard worker and an intelligent, observant woman. The author foreshadowed many things as the story progressed; Jacqueline and Mara were two of them. There was something about how they were introduced and how they acted that made me wary of them. Jacqueline was too wicked and too shrewd for me to like her. I loved the pace of the story; there was never a dull moment. I was engrossed in the story; I was not expecting the ending and for the story to take such a turn. I was genuinely surprised and that doesn’t happen often. Brilliant!

K.C. Finn

Top Producer is a work of fiction in the suspense and murder mystery sub-genres and was penned by author Laura Wolfe. Written for adult audiences, the novel contains the use of explicit language, moderate sexual content and some scenes of non-explicit violence. The central protagonist of the tale is Mara Butler, a newcomer to the world of real estate who thinks she’s struck it lucky when she gets a job in a top Chicago company. But when Mara follows the wrong advice and competing realtors start ending up dead, a scandal and a saga unfold that pit Mara against her morals and her own ambitions for the future.

Author Laura Wolfe has crafted a truly compelling crime, mystery, suspense, and intrigue-filled novel which is sure to keep readers turning the pages from cover to cover. I loved the cut-throat world that Wolfe presents under the dubious tutelage of Jacqueline Hendersen, and although the characters were larger than life, there was plenty of realistic dialogue and intricate narrative work to keep us grounded in the story. Mara was a wonderful figure to follow as she learns to duck and weave amid the scandals and try to get to the bottom of what’s going on, and indeed that plotline develops into a really exciting and unpredictable rollercoaster as the tale expands. Overall, I would certainly recommend Top Producer to fans of intense female-led drama, high stakes relationship dynamics, and fresh-faced heroines who are here to get into a whole lot of trouble and thrills!

Viga Boland

It almost seems too easy when Mara Butler secures a position as assistant to one of Chicago’s top real estate agents, Jacqueline Henderson, but Mara quickly proves her worthiness for the job as Jacqueline piles more and more work on her. But Mara has a need and lots of motivation to succeed: she has a beloved younger sister battling cancer and parents going broke trying to pay the medical bills. Determined to learn all she can about success in Real Estate, and despite some ominous warnings about Jacqueline, Mara constantly reminds herself she is learning from the best. But increasingly, Mara learns there is much more to Jacqueline’s success than meets the eye...and not all of it looks ethical. Jacqueline’s heart is set on becoming Chicago’s top producer and she’ll do whatever is necessary, even if it’s criminal, to make that happen. When Mara finally realizes how she is being used and how it could end her dreams of both success and financial aid for her family, she is desperate to extricate herself from the hell Jacqueline has put her into. How will she do it? Finding out is what keeps readers breathlessly entertained and unable to put the book down.

Top Producer is the most entertaining read I’ve had in a long time! Maybe even better yet, it’s also one of the most enlightening. And time has proven that when a novel is both enjoyable and informative, that author has created a winning combination. Way to go, Laura Wolfe. I truly loved Top Producer. Laura Wolfe is my kind of writer. She has an excellent command of language, uses dialogue easily, and creates characters with which one readily identifies and who are not easily forgotten. You’ll find yourself hoping you never encounter a Jacqueline but don’t kid yourself into thinking that what she does to succeed wouldn’t really happen. I said this book was enlightening: Wolfe captures the heights and depths to which greed and ambition can take a person and how someone as innocent and nice as Mara can be sucked into a whirlpool from which she can’t escape. While you laugh and cry with Mara, you’ll shake your head and be thankful that what happens to Mara is only fiction. Laura Wolfe is a prolific writer and deservedly has enjoyed much recognition in literary circles. I am a huge fan and would never hesitate to pick up another book by Wolfe.