is an Australian young adult novel
by Elizabeth Honey. The main character is Melbourne-born teenager Ned Spinner, a reptile-enthusiast and computer geek, whose mother, an arboriculturist named Janet, suffers a severe mental breakdown in the early chapters. Ned is sent to stay with his aunt and uncle in Wakwak, Northern Territory while she recovers. While there, he makes fast friends with his cousin Kate, who he has previously kept in e-mail contact with. With permission from the local indigenous kids, she shows him a rare Oenpelli Python. A few days later, Ned naively mentions the python to an unpleasant American tourist
(nicknamed The Cowboy) at his uncle's gallery.
After Ned returns to Melbourne, he learns that Janet has been invited to stay with the mother of one of her colleagues in Concord, Massachusetts. Knowing that this will be good for her, Ned agrees to go with her. Shortly after their arrival, Ned receives an angry e-mail from Kate, revealing that the python hasn't been seen since the day they were at the gallery.
Ned makes friends with a boy from the next town, nicknamed Rocky, and joins him in searching for a brown bear that's supposedly been sighted in the woods. Eventually, they find it, along with two of her cubs. But when Rocky makes a deal with a wildlife photographer, it gets the mother killed and the cubs captured. When Ned and Rocky attempt to track down the poachers, it leads them to Frank Laana, a retired Hollywood stunt driver running a international smuggling ring - who they subsequently identify as The Cowboy.
Kate investigates Ned's other leads (obtained in an overheard conversation revealing the full scope of the smuggling ring), making two further international contacts in the process: Cleverton, a teen genius from Kingston, Jamaica; and Yvette, a French fashion expert and amateur historian from the Loire Valley. These five teenagers band together to expose Laana and put an end to his criminal activities, despite their communication being limited to e-mail and underground (or underwater) chatrooms (Note that the book predates Myspace and Facebook by several years).
Remote Man contains examples of: