What makes a great summer read? Suspense? Humor? Satisfying plot? Endearing characters? You name it; we’ve got it! Here are some suggested new titles to get you through the dog days.

Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry
This “compulsive novel of ideas…crammed with incident, characters and plot,” according to The Guardian , follows the fortunes of young Victorian widow Cora Seagrave, who moves with her companion and son to the wilds of Essex to pursue her passion for evolutionary science. There she meets her equal and opposite, William Ransome, rector of a village whose inhabitants areterrorized by a winged sea serpent like the one in Loch Ness, a mythical monster – or is it? Passions, secrets, symbolism, and biological and social Darwinism combine in this rich historical epic.

The Forever Summer, by Jamie Brenner
Two half-sisters, a mother and a grandmother connect with each other and find themselves in one summer in Provincetown! Marin has just been fired from her high-level job for having a steamy affair with her boss, only to find that her parents are divorcing and she has a half-sister she knows nothing about. Full of funny, authentically quirky details about our wonderful town, this is the best beach book of the summer and a USA Today bestseller.

A House Among Trees, by Julia Glass
Mort Lear, a children’s author who transformed the genre with his weird and wonderful books, has died and left his estate to his long-time assistant, a woman named Tommy. Meanwhile a newly minted Hollywood star is preparing to portray Mort on film, and a museum curator is stunned and disappointed to find that her museum will not be receiving Mort’s works after all. Tommy’s younger brother, who was unwittingly the model for Mort’s most famous character, is looking for some kind of justice. Will all of these people converge at Mort’s house on the same weekend? You bet! National Book Award winner Julia Glass works humane and generous magic with words, creating characters you come to love.

The Last Place You Look, by Kristin Lepionka
Private investigator Roxane Weary finds things for a living: “Objects. People. Answers. Whatever needs to be found.” The sister of a convicted murderer on death row asks Roxane to find the only witness to the murder, a young woman who disappeared fifteen years ago. Roxane is drinking and depressed –still mourning the death of her father, a police officer, and vacillating between her ex-lover Catherine and fellow-mourner-with-benefits Tom. A fast-moving mystery with an intriguing bisexual heroine and plenty of atmosphere!

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, Matthew Sullivan
Thirty-year-old Lydia finds one of her favorite customers dead, hanging in the Bright Ideas Bookstore in Denver where she works. Worse, she discovers that he has a childhood picture of her in his pocket, and then she realizes that he left coded messages for her in his books. Following this twisty trail brings Lydia back to a terrible trauma in her past. An old-fashioned puzzle mystery fueled by one horribly chilling crime and great writing – better than chocolate for book lovers!

The Templars’ Last Secret, Martin Walker
The victim carries no identification and her fingerprints are not known to the French police or Interpol. But Bruno, chief of police in the idyllic French town of St. Denis, doesn’t investigate by the book. Instead, he starts making connections to the cave where the body was found,beneath the ruined Templar chateau of Commarque, and possibly to the fabled treasure of the Templars. As always, Brunoenjoys great food, wine and friends along the way, resulting in “a banquet of epicurean pleasures, ancient history, international terrorism, and holy matrimony,” according to Kirkus Reviews .