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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Steven M. Moore pens an apocalyptic thriller in The Last Humans. Penny Castro left the US Navy and became a forensic diver for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Penny and her fellow deputy George are called out to locate a victim offshore. Penny plunges into the ocean, finds the body and tugs on her line. The line goes limp. Letting go of the body, she swims to the surface. On the boat, she discovers her fellow deputy dead. Shocked, sickened, and saddened, she heads to shore. Upon arrival, all she finds is more dead bodies. They are everywhere! The world had turned upside down while she was under water. The stench of death surrounds her. Alone and frightened, she hides. But soon wild and feral humans begin terrorizing, looting and raping at will. Penny saves a small boy, Sammy, and then an old man named Ben. Penny, Sammy, and Ben become a family, fighting to survive in a desolate world gone mad.
The Last Humans is a thrilling ride into a dystopian world. Written in first person narrative, the heart and soul of the heroine emerges. Every thought, emotion, and action is seen from her perspective. She is courageous but not necessarily brave. She faces her fears and often vomits in the aftermath. Her femininity at times gets the better of her, but her humanity always prevails. The cast of characters and the tragic events surrounding her cause her character to grow beyond expectation. This concept is mandatory for survival in an apocalyptic world, keeping to the adage “that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
To survive you must have water. History has proven most wars are fought over water rights. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is a continual battle over water. Moore obviously did his research on the desalination process, bringing a realistic level of science into the conflict. Minimizing politics, the story never reveals the source of the plague; instead, the narrative concentrates on the aftermath of the global disaster. As the story comes to an end, the action slows, leaving you wondering if those who survived were truly the last humans. “The future was an unknown, but the known past had to be put aside to make room for it.”