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Hiss Me Deadly: A Chet Gecko Mystery Hardcover – October 1, 2007

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Hardcover, October 1, 2007
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 570L (What's this?)
  • Series: Chet Gecko (Book 13)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; First Edition edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152054820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152054823
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,550,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

BRUCE HALE is the author of five picture books as well as the Chet Gecko mysteries. A popular speaker, teacher, and storyteller for children and adults, he lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Sub Sandwich
           You could attend Emerson Hicky Elementary for a long time without knowing its substitute teachers. And you could know its subs for a long time without meeting Barbara Dwyer.
           And that would be just swell.
           Barb Dwyer was a sourpuss porcupine with a face like a bucket of mud. From the tips of her many quills to the shapeless hat on her head, she was a surly sub, and she didn’t care who knew it.
           I could have gone my whole life without meeting her. But because Mr. Ratnose called in sick one gray Wednesday, we were stuck with the dame.
           Through math and English classes she had ridden us hard, like a rhino going piggyback on a house cat. We were taking a breather, doing some silent reading. Most of the kids favored Winnie the Poobah, our assignment.
           I had slipped the latest Amazing Mantis-Man comic book inside old Winnie.
           Private eyes like to live dangerously.
           A gentle whisper broke my concentration.
           “Chet?” It was Shirley Chameleon, leaning across the aisle.
           I gave her a look. She was worth looking at. Shirley had big green peepers, a curly tail, and a laugh like the pitter-pat of raindrops on daisies.
           Not that I cared about any of that. She was also a major cootie factory.
           “Mm?” I said, glancing back at my comic book.
           “Do you, um . . . are you going to the fair on Friday?” Shirley toyed with her scarf, one eye on me, one eye on the substitute teacher. (Literally. Chameleons have some gross habits.)
           I leaned over. “Depends. Will they have clowns?”
           “Why?” she said.
           “Because I hate clowns.”
           “Who’s whispering?” a voice snapped. Ms. Dwyer scanned the room.
           We clammed up. A minute later, Shirley bent back across the aisle.
           She batted her eyelashes. “I don’t know about clowns,” she whispered, “but I do know that they’re having a dance.
           I knew it, too—the Hen’s Choice Hoedown, where girls ask boys.
           “I was trying to forget about that,” I said.
           Ms. Dwyer thundered, “No more whispering. Eyes on your books!”
           Shirley gave it a rest for another minute. Then she murmured, “If you’re, um, going to the fair, maybe you’d come to the dance with me? As my date?”
           “Your date?!” I spluttered, shattering the quiet.
           “That’s it!” cried Ms. Dwyer. She waddled up the aisle toward me, quills bristling. “You! What’s your name?”
           Although I wanted to say Seymour Butts, I stuck with the truth. “Chet Gecko.”
           “You’ve disrupted my class enough for one morning.”
           I let my book drop. “But she—”
           Ms. Dwyer noticed my Amazing Mantis-Man. “And you’re reading this . . . this trash? A comic book?”
           “It’s research,” I said. “For my science report.”
           “I don’t care if it’s War and frikkety Peace,” she growled. The porcupine held her hand out for the comic. I gave it to her. “You, mister, will sit outside until you learn some manners.”
           Bo Newt chuckled. “Guess I’ll see ya next year, Chet.”
           The substitute wheeled on my friend. “Would you like to join him?”
           “Uh, no sir,” said Bo.
           “No sir, ma’am,” said the newt.
           Ms. Dwyer gritted her teeth, then glared at me. “Well, what are you waiting for? Go and reflect on your bad behavior.”
           It’s no use arguing with a walking pincushion. Followed by Shirley’s mournful gaze, I rose and ambled out the door.
           Five minutes of sitting on the hard cement was enough reflection for any gecko. My tuckus was going to sleep. But the sub let me stew.
           On the far-off playground, little kids squealed with joy and freedom.
           I sighed. Idly, I twirled the tip of my tail. No case to solve, no comic to read. It would be a long, boring timeout.
           I couldn’t have been more wrong.
           Footsteps slapped down the hall. “Chet! Chet!”
           The last thing I expected was my little sister. And yet, there she stood, big as life—Pinky Gecko, first grader and first-rate pain in the tushie.
           “Little blister,” I said. “What brings you here?”
           She frowned. “My feet. But, but . . . how come you’re sitting in the hall?”
           “I’m on guard duty—watching out for cockapoos.”
           “Cocka-whose?” she said.
           “Never mind.”
           Pinky turned her woeful eyes on me. “Help me, big brother.”
           I pointed. “Okay, the loony bin is that way.”
class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; tab-stops: 24.0pt" 
           “Not funny,” she said, pouting. “Mom’s pearls, they’re missing!”
           I scratched my head. “Run that by me again?”
           “The pearls.” Pinky shuffled her feet. “I, um, borrowed ’em for show-and-tell.”
           “Smooth move, moth-brain,” I said. “And what, you accidentally flushed them down the john?”
           “I’m not a moth-brain,” she said. “I showed ’em before recess. An’, an’ when I came back from recess, they . . . disdappeared from my desk!”
           I stood. “Have you told your teacher, Miss uh . . .”
           “Miss Flemm? I can’t.”
           “Why not?” I asked.
           Pinky’s lip quivered. “She’ll tell Mom.”
           “Yeah, so?”

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Karen Perez on May 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had previous bookd of Bruce Hale that I had read with my grandson so I sent this one to him and again he loved it! Him and his Mom or Dad read it every night.
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By Mr J on January 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very well writing book, and interesting too. Bruce Hale has done it again! It was thrilling and full of mystery.
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By kj on January 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had such an amazing time reading this. I might be reading a little under my level, but this could absolutely entertain any age.
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More About the Author

Edgar-nominated author Bruce Hale is passionate about inspiring reluctant readers to read. He has written or illustrated more than 25 seriously funny books for children, including the popular Chet Gecko Mysteries series and the comics-novel hybrid, Underwhere, as well as picture books like "Snoring Beauty" and "Moki and the Magic Surfboard."

An actor and Fulbright Scholar in Storytelling, Bruce is in demand as a speaker, having presented at conferences, universities, and schools across North America - from the Maui Writers Conference to the Surrey International Writers Conference in British Columbia. His acting resume includes regional commercials, theater, and an independent film, The Ride. Bruce's book, "The Malted Falcon," was an Edgar Award Finalist. "Murder, My Tweet" won the Little D Award for Humor Writing.

When he was a kid, Bruce knew exactly what he wanted to be: Daniel Boone. However, somewhere along the way, the right books and the right teachers encouraged him to try following his love of story in a different direction. He is eternally grateful to those who helped him along the path.

A little-known fact: Bruce loves jazz, and sings with an latin jazz group called Mezcal Martini in Santa Barbara

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