Does everything in life truly happen for a reason?  A virtual predetermined sequence of events with very specific outcomes.  Or is everything just a simple matter of chance?  In certain instances a serendipitous affair with positive outcomes, and at other times having the exact opposite result.  No grand plan- just plain old luck.  Whatever side of the fence you choose in this debate, there can be no overlooking the fact that occasionally things happen which simply defy explanation.  They are just too coincidental and seemingly well orchestrated to ignore.  Providing a sense of purpose in the pursuit of one’s overall fate and destiny.  In Kay C. Beerman’s novel Serendipity in Berkeley we are provided with just such a quandry.  A perfect selection for lovers of romantic suspense who enjoy exciting and gripping tales with a genuine purpose at the core!

Essentially, the novel follows the exploits of the main protagonists, Detective Sgt. Sam Crawford and beautiful medical examiner Alex Wallace.  The pair had originally met a decade earlier when Sam was a young patrol officer and Alex a University student.  Coming across her at a traffic accident, Sam proceeded to shield Alex from an excruciating fate as he used his body to block the burning embers which were falling from the sky as a result of an explosion.  This incident did not merely leave painful scars on Sam’s back however.  It also left memories of one another burned deeply into their respective brains.  As if a delicious fate had carefully brought them together at this point in time.   Nevertheless, sometimes life has different plans altogether.  After the accident they become split up with no way of locating one another.  Fast forward 10 years in time and we are able to see serendipity once again stepping in as the pair encounter one another as the result of a baffling murder.  Feeling instantaneous and intense chemistry for one another, could the long lost lovers finally reunite at last?  Or will a complicated murder and devious criminal organization leave them as just two more victims in its destructive wake?

Without a doubt, this story has an awful lot to offer. It is a romantic suspense and manages to follow that genre exceptionally well.  The romance is passionate with an air of mystery, while the suspense of the criminal investigation is gripping as it steadily builds up to the eventual climax.  The two elements are intricately intertwined and ultimately rely upon one another to make the tale so compelling.  Also, the plot contains a great mixture of twists and turns.  I love stories which are able to keep you continually guessing and this book absolutely meets that criteria in spades!

Even with a solid theme and plot, a romance will fall flat on its face without dynamic characters.  Fortunately, the characters in Serendipity in Berkeley are not only dynamic, but quite believable and memorable as well.  The author skillfully manages to give them their own unique quirks and personalities which not only comes out in the various story events, but is ultimately illuminated through the use of dialogue as well.  We are able to get a “feel” for the various players and their corresponding motivations and range of emotions.  As the hero and heroine, Sam and Alex are obviously developed in the most depth.  Be that as it may, they are supported by a cast of solid and interesting characters who are not so easy to disregard!

All in all, I found this to be an exciting and entirely engaging novel.  The author’s writing is crisp and backed up by a series of clever devices.  I would highly recommend this book to an adult audience as there is mature content.

5 out of 5 Serendipitous Stars for this one!