Published March 29th 2022 by Flame Tree Press Investigator Oscar Basaran travels to Kidney Island off the coast of Maine to document the neg...

Book Review || Shadow Flicker by Gregory Bastianelli




Published March 29th 2022 by Flame Tree Press


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.

Oscar’s research shows that sleep deprivation, light deficiency and ringing headaches brought on by the noise and constant strobe-like effect of the sun filtered through the spinning blades of the turbines brings on hallucinatory episodes for the closest neighbors to the machines.

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.

Aerosource, the energy corporation that owns the turbines, hired Oscar to investigate the neighbors’ claims, but the insurance agent shows no allegiance to the conglomerate, especially after learning a previous employee sent to the island a year before has disappeared without a trace.

When Oscar meets former island school science teacher Norris Squires, fired for teaching his students about the harmful effects of shadow flicker, he learns a theory regarding Aerosource that sounds too preposterous to believe.

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?

As Oscar’s investigation deepens, he discovers the turbines create an unexpected phenomena kept secret by a select group of people on Kidney Island who have made a scientific breakthrough and attempt to harness its dark power.


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If you aren't familiar with shadow flicker, imagine a fan blade spinning with a bright light behind it. Now imagine that fan is up to 500 feet tall and it's between the windows of your house and the evening sun. That constant whir and light-dark-light pattern would be enough to drive anyone insane. 

Fictionally based on the true-life phenomenon of shadow flicker, the story follows investigator Oscar as he travels to Kidney Island on behalf of the Aerospace company to see if there really are ill effects on the residents from the turbines. After highly enjoying the author's winter-based novel, Snowball, I was thrilled to pick up Shadow Flicker

Horror frequently targets the small town and Kidney Island is no different. There are a ton of strange happenings on the island as both people and animals act erratically. At first, the symptoms of the shadow flicker fall into the expected territory—inability to sleep due to the hum, headaches from the flashing light, animals disturbed by the turbines. Then the true oddness is discovered. A child thought to have drowned in the water is seen again, but only in the flicker. Time actually stops for one of the island's residents. Oscar is treated like the outsider he is and slowly sinks into the oddness and delirium affecting the area and its inhabitants. 

As with Snowball, this takes about another bizarre turn with its slow burn. More and more of the characters' backgrounds start to creep to the surface. Where you think the novel will lead, is not where it takes you. I didn't dislike the ending but it definitely took it in a direction that I was not expecting.