Growing up among males with a propensity for small-town scrapes and dares occasionally put the normally law-abiding Emma Trace in a tight spot. But murdering her ex-boyfriend's current squeeze, Jennifer, is not her style at all. Though they initially suspected Emma, the cops soon realize that she could help their investigation. Working in true amateur-sleuth style, this Long Island gal uses her myriad connections (including the public library) to figure out who wanted Jennifer dead. While startled by the dark family secrets she uncovers, Emma will not be dissuaded; she's set on proving once and for all that she is not a scaredy cat. VERDICT Speed's fun debut introduces a protagonist with real flair. She cleverly combines a complicated backstory with good banter and a daring conclusion. A nice choice for Deborah Coonts and Janet Evanovich fans.