by Laura Griffin
(Pocket, $7.99, R)  ISBN 978-1-4516-1736-8
Doing what she does best, Laura Griffin has written an excellent addition to the Tracers series, Snapped. The suspense is high in this one and the fumbling romance hot. Though Tracers is the series - about the people who work for the Delphi Center, a high-tech lab and learning center in Central Texas - as with the previous novels, Snapped stands perfectly well on its own. However, fans of Griffin's will be pleased to see the return characters, and to get to Sophie Barrett's story.

Until the previous January, Sophie Barrett's dream was to become a professional singer. It took her a lot of meaningless jobs to get to that point, and then the unbelievable happened. She was kidnapped during a murder case in which the Tracers were involved and being investigated by her friend Ric Santos and his partner, Jonah Macon. Sophie was the serial killer's intended victim, but Jonah managed to save her. Now, Sophie works at the Delphi Center answering phones and, internally, at least, is a bit of a basket case. She no longer dreams of becoming a singer, but she has decided it's time to dig her way out of her slump and try something new, like apply for a promotion in the PR department.

Sophie is on her way to do just that by applying for night classes at the local college when a gunman starts picking off people. The Summer School Massacre, as it comes to be called by a crazed media, kills three, including a pregnant woman, and injures twenty-five. And Sophie was within a handspan of two of the victims. Jonah, who is SWAT and former military, ends up on the roof of the library and is stunned to see Sophie in the quad. He is not stunned by his reaction to her, which is not dissimilar to the one he had when he rescued her the winter before.

Unfortunately for his hormones, Sophie won't stay out of his case - after some evidence regarding their mysterious and suicidal shooter comes to light, Sophie becomes certain that there's a conspiracy, which spells disaster for the bow the department wants to slap on the case. Several terrifying attempts on Sophie's light make it pretty clear that she knows something that is making someone nervous, and it's equally as clear that said someone won't stop until they've gotten the job - namely, Sophie's life - taken care of.

With a serious lack of evidence leading him anywhere but the first gunman, a city in shock, a would-be girlfriend in peril, bosses breathing down his neck and lawsuits raining on the San Marcos PD, Jonah's case is more than a plateful... and then Sophie runs off. In a move that in no way helps their relationship, he has her arrested. And things between them just get more interesting from there.

Snapped is great. The plot is fast-moving and suspenseful. A reader will never fear that Sophie or Jonah will fail to come out of it alive, but there are some desperate situations that will get the heart pounding. A majority of the characters will be familiar to anyone who's read previous books in the loose-knit series, and as a personal note, I have to say that so far, as a couple, Sophie and Jonah are my favorites. They butt heads constantly, so there are a lot of fireworks, but that's because they're both such fierce characters. A romantic suspense must, and one of the best romances of the waning summer.

--Sarrah Knight

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