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Reviewed by Steve Leshin for Readers' Favorite
Is it a mystery? A romance novel? Science fiction? Or a travel and lifestyle brochure? How about all of the above? One thing An Oddity of Some Consequence by Gary Dickson is definitely not is boring. In modern-day Los Angeles, Robert Valmer, a suave, erudite, and sophisticated Renaissance man born in France, meets and falls in love with a bright, beautiful young psychologist named Alexis Roth who wants to know everything about Robert, including his past. But Robert Valmer has a secret he never wants to be revealed. Rather than opening up to her, he leaves Alexis and runs off to somewhere in Europe. Not to be denied, Alexis, totally in love, decides she must go after him, going so far as hiring a prestigious and very expensive French detective agency to help track him down. Robert’s secret? He was born in France, but before the French Revolution in 1789! You see, dear reader, Robert Valmer never aged past the age of 40-something. He informed Alexis he was 48 but looks younger than his age. As the detective agency tries to track him down, Robert Valmer has a big head start and endless financial resources that enable him to move practically undetected in France, Italy, and Switzerland to the most remote and seemingly untraceable places on the European continent.
An Oddity of Some Consequence provides the reader with suspense for sure, but what distinguishes this novel from most is the description of the various restaurants, hotels, and historic landmarks Gary Dickson provides in his narrative. It incorporates absorbing and revealing anecdotes about places and people in Robert’s past that allow for a broader evocation of the times in question. Alexis Roth uses intelligence and her psychic training in her pursuit of Robert Valmer. She seems to meet all the criteria of a love-struck stalker as she keeps one step behind Robert and discovers his favorite haunts from the early 1800s to the present. She spares no expense, paying anyone with any information about the mysterious Mr. Valmer. Will she find him? Will he let her? All this and more is answered in the final chapter. Hard to put down, An Oddity of Some Consequence is darn good reading.