Blood in the Water by Silver Don Cameron

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70,000 words
Finished books available


Canada: Penguin Canada, August 2020
US: Steerforth Press, Fall 2021
UK: Swift Press, Spring 2021
T.V.: Pictou Twist Pictures


Silver Don Cameron (Photo: Majorie Simmins)
(Photo: Marjorie Simmins)

[1937 — 2020]

[Click to view Silver Donald Cameron's full CV]

One of Canada's most accomplished authors, Silver Donald Cameron devoted much of his time to his work as host and executive producer of He wrote and narrated The Green Interview's five documentary films, including Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World (2016). Silver Donald's literary work includes plays, films, radio and TV scripts, an extensive body of coporate and governmental writing, hundreds of magazine articles and 19 books. He has been a columnist for The Globe and Mail, and for 13 years he wrote an influential weekly column for the Halifax Sunday Herald. Dr. Cameron was a professor or writer-in-residence at seven universities and Dean of Community Studies at Cape Breton University. He held honorary doctorates from CBU and from the University of King's College, as well as an MA from the University of California and a PhD from the University of London. In 2012, he was appointed to both the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia, and awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2019 he was appointed the first Farley Mowat Chair in Environment at Cape Breton University.

Blood in the Water
A True Story of Small-Town Revenge

by Silver Don Cameron





Margaret Atwood tweet

“This is an instant true crime classic.” — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

“True crime narratives that take place in small towns often reveal as much about the town as they do about the crime itself. Such is the case with the compelling Blood in the Water…a rueful yet compassionate look at a community in crisis [that] demonstrates how even the quietest towns are capable of explosive violence.”

“Cameron has achieved his intention in producing a comprehensive, thoughtful examination of a case wherein ‘the root causes of the tragedy include a systematic failure of the legal system itself’.” —THE DAILY MAIL, UK

“In less skilful hands, Blood in the Water could have been a mess. But Cameron, who lived on Isle Madame for nearly 50 years…, successfully weaves together courtroom drama, memoir, and an insightful exploration of people and place….”

“A masterful true account of a celebrated small-town murder…. This book is a brilliant finale to his illustrious career.”— THE GLOBE AND MAIL

“It was easily dismissed as the ‘murder for lobster’—a senseless brutal act. But to the master storyteller Silver Donald Cameron, who has a deep knowledge of the people and the history of where it happened, it was anything but senseless. It was a crime that over time became, in many minds, inevitable.” — LINDEN MACINTYRE, author of The Wake

“With its elegant prose and a cast of characters fit for any work of fiction, Blood in the Water takes us through one of the most remarkable criminal trials in the history of Nova Scotia. Silver Donald Cameron grapples with the complexities of small-town culture where history, blood, and tradition can override everything, even murder.” — DONNA MORRISSEY, author of The Fortunate Son

“Silver Donald Cameron tells a story of community bonds under strain, and tells it with compassion and nuance. Thanks to his own ties to Cape Breton, Cameron transcends the easy headlines to reveal the grey areas of the case and the humanity of a tragic villain. His compelling account of the desperate response to that villainy, and of an imperfect legal system, deserves a place in criminal law classes, yet feels like a yarn spun by the gifted raconteur next door.” — JACQUES POITRAS, author of Irving vs Irving

“A helluva tale, full of quirky twists and enchanting details, and told in vintage Silver Donald Cameron style. He piques your curiosity in the first paragraph and delivers a master class in storytelling. Blood in the Water is about a moral dilemma that will linger long after the final page.” — SALLY ARMSTRONG, author of Ascent of Women

“Silver Donald Cameron has produced a riveting account of transgression and murder in rural Nova Scotia. Shakespearean in scope, Blood in the Water rises above the true crime genre to offer powerful insights into the complexities, and the dark side, of Maritime society. A cracking good read.” — MICHAEL HARRIS, author of Party of One

“This is a truly Canadian tale told in truly Canadian voices. Read it!”
 — GAIL BOWEN, author of the Joanne Kilbourn Shreve mystery series

“An engrossing behind-the-headlines story of a case that stunned Cape Breton…[and] a revealing contemplation of the close ties that can both bind or fetter rural communities, told by a consummate storyteller with a deep connection to that unique place.” — PAULINE DAKIN, author of the bestseller Run, Hide, Repeat

Blood in the Water - US edition

On the early morning of June 1, 2013, the sea around Isle Madame, off the southeastern corner of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, was calm, the sky a rich, northern blue, and the air was keen and sweet. Off the Acadian fishing village of Petit de Grat, on the island’s south coast, the glittering sea was sprinkled with small boats where fishermen hauled their lobster traps.

At 6:25 AM, the locals heard four pops, widely spaced: rifle shots down off Mackerel Point, at the mouth of Petit de Grat Harbour. Twenty minutes later a fisherman saw something bobbing in the water: the bow of a badly-damaged, half-sunk fiberglass speedboat named Midnight Slider. It belonged to Phillip Boudreau, a notorious local poacher and thief.

By 7:30 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were on the scene. The island’s grapevine soon reported that the crew of the Twin Maggies had caught Boudreau vandalizing their lobster traps. They reportedly fired at him, rammed his boat, and ran him down. Then they dragged him out to sea, tied an anchor to him, and dropped him in 74 feet of icy water.

The body was never found.

Why did they do it?

What really happened out on the water that morning?

Phillip Boudreau, known as a small-time criminal who had terrorized and entertained Petit de Grat for two decades, was funny and frightening, loathed, loved, and feared. One neighbour even said Phillip would “steal the beads off Christ’s moccasins”—then give the booty away to someone in need. But Don Cameron discovered more: three cases of rape, death threats, violence.

Phillip would also taunt his victims, and threaten them with arson if they reported him. Of those who were not afraid of him, many were indebted to him, while the police and the Fisheries officers were cowed, distracted, and hobbled by shrinking budgets. Phillip seemed invincible, and the worst they could do was throw him in jail, a place where he was perfectly content to be during the cold winter season.

So why would two respected fishermen kill him? Many said that if they had not done it, others would have.

This is a story not about lobster, but about the grand themes of power and law, security and self-respect, which raises a disturbing question for you the reader: Are there times when taking the law into your own hands really is the responsible thing to do?



Blood in the Water - UK edition


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