Matthew Hayes is on a flight to Hollywood to meet with studio executives that are interested in buying his recently completed, highly regarded screenplay when all hell breaks loose. Suddenly, many of the passengers behave as though they are stoned, fascinated by the appearance of their own hands, while others are overcome with a sinister urge to kill. Humans are divided into two categories in Elliot Logan’s apocalyptic horror novel The Last Stonestepper. The first category, the “stonestepper”, as described by the protagonist, Matthew, is one that takes a very cautious approach, searching for rocks to step on to cross a creek. The second category is made up of less cautious people of action, that will run straight through a creek to get to the other side with no concern for getting wet. This is how people are divided in The Last Stonestepper when some type of event alters the consciousness of a significant portion of the population. The speculation is that the event is caused by some type of cutting edge military technology gone awry. Those that are unaffected possess some type of mental resiliency that is lacking in the majority of the population. Those affected by the event are transformed into either cold-blooded killers or drooling, vacant imbeciles that seem lost in some type of pleasant dream world. But this story certainly isn’t advocating for the destruction of the world’s quitters and slackers. In fact, the protagonist happens to be one of these “stonesteppers” that is undergoing a slow transformation, unlike the rest. As he fights for his life, he is slowly drawn into a vivid and pleasant memory of a day at the beach with his girlfriend.
The Last Stonestepper is a very enjoyable book. The frequent appearance of the ominous “man in the pinstriped suit”, that is visible only to the protagonist, is an element reminiscent of characters we’ve seen in Stephen King novels. Many of us writers, readers, dreamers and other “stonesteppers” will likely relate to Matthew’s temptation to retreat from misery and suffering into some fictional realm. Suspenseful and downright scary at times, The Last Stonestepper gives you that heightened awareness of your peripheral vision like great horror should. Elliot Logan has also captured some very human, emotional elements in this apocalyptic horror novel that make it unique in the genre and well worth reading.