A Grade-B thriller in which Everyman is a wanted man—and in several countries.
Up till now, 36-year-old Rob Tarrant has led a blameless life: law-abiding citizen, loving father, faithful husband, hard-working aerospace engineer for multinational General Standards, and harmless hobbyist. It’s this last that leads him down the garden path, but how could he have foreseen that the miniature UAV produced in his basement workshop would make him persona non grata in so many places? UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. The one Rob designs is only a couple of inches long, and when he brings it to the attention of Ethan Lodge it’s because he vaguely hopes it will result in some form of modest career advancement. But Lodge, a GenStand marketing director, is exactly the wrong man to confide in. True, he’s by way of being a friend—or so Rob thinks—but the seemingly well-disposed Lodge is in fact a Lodge full of secret agendas. For one thing, he’s been on the take for years. Complicating that is the matter of whom and what he was taking from: a powerful foreign government passionately interested in how a tiny UAV might augment spook efficiency. It’s at this point (though for reasons not always easy to follow) that Everyman becomes everybody’s target. Nor is he comfortable reaching out to home-grown law enforcement because—call him paranoid—he’s convinced they’re all double-dealing. And it’s certainly true, for instance, that the handsome Defense Department Intelligence hotshot David Sachs has been climbing into bed with Rob’s wife. Nonetheless, beleaguered Rob is Rob resourceful, and with the help of good friends, and a good woman, Everyman overcomes everywhichway.
Ing’s light touch (The Skins of Dead Men, 1998, etc.) fails him here: the story’s far-fetched, the characters slight, the comedy forced.