By Heidi Simmons

With record-breaking temperatures, there is no doubt that summer has officially arrived! Whether you are headed to the beach, the mountains or a near-by cooling center, this is a great time to chill with a book.

One of the best things about summer reading is that it’s the perfect season to revisit a favorite book, pick up a missed classic you always wanted to read, indulge in a “trashy” novel, enjoy a sequel, or select a new bestseller right from the shelves of your preferred bookseller. It’s all good! Summer reading is for fun and it’s a great way to survive the long hot days!

Here are some new tomes to inspire you to get excited about spending time with interesting characters in unexpected places encountering challenging situations.


Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz (HarperCollins, 339 pages) is a throwback to the great Agatha Christie whodunits. The Poirot-like investigator, Atticus Pünd, finds it mysterious that a dedicated cleaning lady ended up dead in a room locked from the inside at the Saxon-on-Avery’s Pye Hall.



Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan (Knopf Doubleday, 416 pages) begins with the death of a family’s matriarch. As the heirs gather from around the globe, the Shang-Young clan fights over their privilege and property.




The Fallen: A Quinn Colson Novel by Ace Atkins (Penguin, 368 pages) is the seventh in the series of the unorthodox Mississippi Sheriff. Once again, Quinn teams up with the tough and tenacious Lillie Virgil to find bank robbers, but like always, there’s the local politicians and mafia getting in the way.



The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Atlantic, 224 pages), the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Sympathizer — which is now in paperback and perfect for pool-side reading — tells several stories of characters who have lived life as both Americans and Vietnamese – not such an easy adaptation as they struggle between the two very different worlds.



Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh (Penguin, 400 pages) is set in 1950s Kenya, where a young woman returns after boarding school in England to find the country in political turmoil. She decides to take a harrowing stand against racism, and her family.




Old Bones: A Detective Sarah Alt Novel by Trudy Nan Boyce (Penguin, 352 pages), police and racism collide in this timely mystery set in Atlanta. After the discovery of a decayed body, detective “Salt,” finds herself caught in the middle of a peaceful demonstration when it turns deadly. Author Nan Boyce is a former Atlanta Police Department veteran.



Testimony by Scott Turow (Grand Central, 496 pages) is about a retired prosecutor who is reevaluating his life and career when he’s asked to help in an International Criminal Court case prosecuting crimes against humanity during the Bosnian war. This legal thriller takes the protagonist to Holland, Bosnia and Washington DC as he investigates the vanishing of an entire Roma village a decade earlier.



Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais (Penguin, 432 pages) is told by two women who have been significantly affected by South Africa’s brutal Apartheid. Although their suffering is similar, their journeys are quite different.




Whether you have a major trip planned this summer or not, reading can take you to the most exotic and fascinating places. Not only can you visit a different part of the world and discover new cultures, but you can also time travel and meet intriguing, dangerous and compelling characters along the way.

Share what you’re reading with me this summer: