Sunday, 6 June 2021

Book Review: Blood in the Water by Silver Donald Cameron - Reviewed by Jon Morgan

Rural Nova Scotia – The Isle Madame. A community dependent for its livelihood on the lobsters from around its coast. A maverick individual, Philip Boudreau, who is into all sorts of petty crime, some inconsequential, some committed for gain, some out of malice.  

Opinions are divided on Boudreau whom, it appears, occasionally has a generous streak as well as being a massive pain in the posterior. Add to this a generally less than competent police service in the RCMP and there is the back story of mounting community tensions caused by one man’s attacks on the source of his neighbours’ income which leads inevitably to tragedy. 

The tragedy, then is the spine of the story. Boudreau’s death, supposedly murder and his missing body, supposedly dropped into the deep attached to an anchor, leads to the arrest and trial of those apparently responsible and in this book an absolutely minute (and often very tedious and confusing) examination of the daily lives of this community. 

The murder is sparked by Boudreau apparently cutting more lobster lines thus causing economic loss and the victims of his actions taking what may be deemed a long overdue revenge, ramming his boat, shooting at him and finally dragging him along behind their own boat, before consigning him to Davy Jones’ locker. 

It is the minutiae of the story that mainly causes me the problem in this book. It is an interesting story and one which does need the back-story elucidated, but not, perhaps in the way it has been done. It veers off into inconsequential details of for example and amongst others, Catholic priests and child abuse, which if they were germane to the narrative would be appropriate. They are not.  

The books lies somewhere between a simple narrative account of the crime committed (and the police investigation leading to changing stories from the accused and the subsequent trials of two of the three people), and an academic treatise on economic and societal pressures on the Nova Scotians via a critique of the local criminal justice system. It does not seem to know what it wants to be, and whilst I waded through it, at the end, I could not really tell either.

Published by Swift Press

Publication date 6/5/2021

Paperback. 244 Pages

ISBN: 9781800750241

Price: £12.99

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