Reviews for Blood in the water : a true story of small-town revenge

Publishers Weekly
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In this superb true crime account, Canadian author Cameron (Warrior Lawyers: From Manila to Manhattan, Attorneys for the Earth) examines a complex homicide case while questioning whether justice was done. On the morning of June 1, 2013, in the waters off Isle Madame, Nova Scotia, deckhand James Landry and two other lobster men aboard the Twin Maggies spotted notorious troublemaker Phillip Boudreau, who had a lengthy record as a lobster trap poacher, in his speedboat among their lobster pots. Afraid he was stealing from them again, Landry fired four shots at Boudreau’s boat, which then collided with the Twin Maggies. Boudreau fell overboard and was never seen again. Though the exact circumstances were in dispute, the prosecutor’s office concluded that Landry, the former owner of the Twin Maggies’ lobster license, deliberately killed Boudreau, largely based on testimony from the second deckhand. Besides thoroughly covering the trial, which ended with Landry’s manslaughter conviction, Cameron fleshes out the backstories of everyone involved, endeavors to resolve what actually happened (including who was responsible for Boudreau’s death), and explores the morality of taking the law into one’s own hands when law enforcement proves unable to offer protection. This is an instant true crime classic. Agent: Denise Bukowski, Bukowski Agency. (Nov.)


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Canadian author Cameron, who lived for decades on Isle Madame off the coast of New Breton in Nova Scotia, and who died in 2020, examines the 2014 murder trial of a fisherman who was one of several people involved in the disappearance and possible death of a neighbor. James Landry was accused and later convicted of causing the death of Phillip Boudreau, who was well-known in the small, tight-knit Acadian community for stealing lobsters and vehicles, aggravating his neighbors, and generally creating havoc. Cameron's well-documented, if perhaps overly detailed, account moves back and forth from the trial, where both the defense and the prosecution seem detached from the feelings and reactions of the community, and interviews with many members of that community, most of whom are more than ready to talk about their feelings about the case as long as their names aren't used.This is an absorbing study of the way an isolated community handles conflict as well as the failures of the Canadian legal system.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

How a small fishing community responded to the violent death of one of its most notorious citizens, a man with a reputation for vandalizing lobster traps and threatening livelihoods. In this true-crime saga, Cameron, who died in 2020, examines the 2013 killing of Phillip Boudreau by three Nova Scotian lobster fishermen. The author weaves together local testimony with his own commentary on the official investigation into the crime, the various trials that followed, and the complex reactions of a community exasperated by the shortcomings of the justice system. Cameron provides a rich and revealing portrait of contemporary Acadian culture, which he documents with an insider’s comprehensive knowledge. He artfully links the central drama to broader discussions about socio-economic inequality, natural resource management, police interrogation tactics, and the consequences of a loss of faith in law and order. Boudreau, a career criminal who had long preyed on his neighbors but was also known for his charisma and selective generosity, is skillfully rendered here as an enigmatic villain/victim. Cameron convincingly argues that his death illustrates how a brutal vigilantism could not help but erupt with the breakdown of “two distinct systems of law”: a community’s informal self-regulation, which lacked solidarity in restraining Boudreau, and its formal counterpart in “prosecutors and juries and courthouses,” which proved too narrow in its focus and “barely even suspects that it failed.” In the concluding chapter, the author offers a series of astute recommendations about how such systems might be reformed and points to the value of turning for inspiration to Indigenous traditions of justice. Though the momentum of the storytelling flags near the end, Cameron provides an illuminating view of the inner workings of the Canadian legal system and one of the communities it is meant to serve. An often gripping, insightful examination of a well-known crime and the Acadian milieu in which it took place. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Canadian author Cameron, who lived for decades on Isle Madame off the coast of New Breton in Nova Scotia, and who died in 2020, examines the 2014 murder trial of a fisherman who was one of several people involved in the disappearance and possible death of a neighbor. James Landry was accused and later convicted of causing the death of Phillip Boudreau, who was well-known in the small, tight-knit Acadian community for stealing lobsters and vehicles, aggravating his neighbors, and generally creating havoc. Cameron's well-documented, if perhaps overly detailed, account moves back and forth from the trial, where both the defense and the prosecution seem detached from the feelings and reactions of the community, and interviews with many members of that community, most of whom are more than ready to talk about their feelings about the case as long as their names aren't used.This is an absorbing study of the way an isolated community handles conflict as well as the failures of the Canadian legal system.

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