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REMOTE MAN by Elizabeth Honey


by Elizabeth Honey

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: July 9th, 2002
ISBN: 0-375-81413-2
Publisher: Knopf

One of the no-less-than-50 chapter heads could do for all here: “E-Mail and the Detectives” describes this intercontinental romp, featuring five young correspondents on the trail of a drug and wild animal smuggler, to a tee. The disappearance of a rare Oenpelli python from its accustomed rocks sends Australian cousins Ned, known online as “Remote Man,” and Kate (“Kuza”) searching for a fly-by-night visitor, ugly American ex-stuntman Frank Laana. The hunt heats up when Ned travels with his mother halfway around the world to Massachusetts, where he hooks up physically with Rocky (“Rocky”), and makes chat room connections with Cleverton (“Ja”) in Jamaica and Yvette (“Salamandre”) in France. Rapidly exchanging information and ideas while, for “Kusa” at least, throwing spelling to the winds—“DEFINATELY! We are going to catch this SKnuk!”—the five concoct an elaborate sting that culminates in a melodramatic car chase and a fiery end for the brutal nogoodnik. Fans of Van Draanen’s nonstop Sammy Keyes adventures will dive into this page-turner with gusto, and though Honey (Fiddleback, 2001, etc.) creates cardboard villains and injects way too many coincidences to make the tale particularly plausible, her live-wire young sleuths more than compensate with their energy and individual voices. (Fiction. 11-13)