Investigator Oscar Basaran travels to Kidney Island off the coast of Maine to document the negative effects of shadow flicker from wind turbines on residents living near the windmills, but is unprepared for what he encounters from the islanders.
Melody Larson’s elderly father nearly chokes to death after stuffing dandelion heads into his mouth. The Granberrys’ pregnant cow repeatedly runs headlong into a fence post. Tatum Gallagher mourns her young son who vanished more than a year ago, presumed swept out to sea by a wave while fishing on the rocky shore, but several people claim to see him appear only in the glimmer of the shadow flicker.
While it seems the shadow flicker effect has driven some of the island’s animals crazy, is it possible it’s caused an even worse mental breakdown among the human inhabitants? Or is something more nefarious at work on the island?
Hi and welcome to my review of Shadow Flicker!
Before reading Shadow Flicker, I didn’t know the term “shadow flicker” although I was of course familiar with the phenomenon itself: shadow flicker is the effect of the sun shining through the rotating blades of a wind turbine, casting a moving shadow. Every time I drive or cycle past windmills I say that it would drive me bonkers if I had to live with that, so naturally, a book in which this phenomenon is escalated really intrigued me.
However, not only the premise is intriguing, the whole book is. Shadow Flicker is a slow-burner for the most part, but it is so intriguing and mysterious throughout, I just couldn’t stop reading.
A wind park has been erected on an island off the coast of Maine and some of the residents have filed a complaint. The story is told from the perspective of the independent investigator of said complaint and is set entirely on this small island with its sparse population, so Shadow Flicker definitely has a kind of locked room trope going on, which I always enjoy and which really helped build the atmosphere and the mystery.
The island is rocking a bit of a Twin Peaks vibe and I really didn’t know what to believe, nor what to expect. Most of the people are acting weird, and some of the animals are as well, and what is up with the kid who went missing a year ago but has been seen in the shadow flicker?
The last 30% or so clashes a little with what came before, when we finally find out what’s what with things coming to a head. Here is where the speculative bit of the story really comes into its own and I have a sneaky suspicion not everyone will love it, but I really enjoyed it.
Shadow Flicker is a hugely entertaining speculative mystery that will have me looking warily at windmills for a long time to come.
Shadow Flicker will be out on 29 March in digital formats, paperback and hardcover.
Massive thanks to Flame Tree Press and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.