Blood in the Water: A True Story of Revenge in the Maritimes

Blood in the Water is a book by Silver Donald Cameron.

Silver Donald Cameron

In June 2013, three upstanding citizens of a small Cape Breton town cold-bloodedly murdered their neighbour, Phillip Boudreau, at sea. While out checking their lobster traps, two Landry cousins and skipper Dwayne Samson saw Boudreau in his boat, the Midnight Slider, about to vandalize their lobster traps. Like so many times before, Boudreau was about to cost them thousands of dollars out of their seasonal livelihood. One man took out a rifle and fired four shots at Boudreau and his boat. To finish the job, they rammed their own larger boat over the top of his speedboat. Boudreau's body was never found. Then they completed the day's fishing and went home to Petit de Grat on Isle Madame.

Boudreau was a Cape Breton original — an inventive small-time criminal who had terrorized and entertained Petit de Grat for two decades. He had been in prison for nearly half his adult life. He was funny and frightening, loathed, loved, and feared. One neighbour says he would "steal the beads off Christ's moccasins"— then give the booty away to someone in need. He would taunt his victims, and threaten them with arson if they reported him. He was accused of one attempted rape. Meanwhile the police and the Fisheries officers were frustrated, cowed, and hobbled by shrinking budgets. Boudreau seemed invincible, a miscreant who would plague the village forever.

Cameron, a resident of the area since 1971, argues that the Boudreau killing was a direct reaction to credible and dire threats that the authorities were powerless to neutralize. As many local people have said, if those fellows hadn't killed him, someone else would have. Like Say Nothing, The Perfect StormThe Golden Spruce, and Into Thin Air, this book offers a dramatic narrative set in a unique, lovingly drawn setting, where a story about one small community has universal resonance. This is a story not about lobster, but about the grand themes of power and law, security and self-respect. It raises a disturbing question: Are there times when taking the law into your own hands is not only understandable but the responsible thing to do?

Silver Donald Cameron was a celebrated Nova Scotia author, filmmaker and environmentalist. He had been a columnist for the Globe and Mail and wrote a weekly column for the Halifax Sunday Herald for 13 years. He was the recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia in 2012, as well as awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Cameron died on June 1, 2020 at the age of 82 in Halifax after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Blood in the Water won a 2021 Atlantic Book Award.

Interviews with Silver Donald Cameron

Silver Donald Cameron's widow Marjorie Simmins explains why her late husband was inspired to write Blood in the Water, A True Story of Revenge in the Maritimes.
Acclaimed Canadian author Farley Mowat, 92, has died. The outspoken writer of dozens of books, including Never Cry Wolf, was famous for his unwavering focus on protecting nature.

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