From Russia with Lunch is Bruce Hale’s latest entry into the Chet Gecko Mystery series. In typical Hale style the book is satirically playful drawing heavily from a deep cabinet of tastes and flavors.
As expected the book draws heavily on some “punny” stereotypes. The playfulness is rampant, yet almost exhausting in a place or two. While adults will certainly pick up on and appreciate the humor, kids may not. If they do not, the book is still well written and thought out in terms of the mystery and how it is resolved.
In Hale’s own way the book is also multicultural. He brings in characters like Wiccans that may be perceived as dangerous by some only to dismiss them and render them totally innocuous in regard to the story and its resolution. There is no question about Hales’ ability as a storyteller.
Late elementary and middle school students may enjoy the book most, but may have to be urged to remember that there is some real artistry transpiring on the pages. Add the book to your collection with confidence that some readers will find Chet Gecko irresistible just like Garrison Keillor’s listeners find Guy Noir, Private Eye indispensable.
4 out of 5
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