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Book Reviews

“Leach has such a knack for characterization that we are pulled into this book with a level of emotional involvement that I’ve only encountered in the best of novels.”
“Fatal Tide ”, The Fernie Fix, October 2008

“This ‘non-fiction novel’ is a page turner in the tradition of Jon Krakauer, Sebastian Junger or even Truman Capote.”
“Perfect Summer Reads”,, June 20, 2008

“The book’s broad scope makes it a compelling read for armchair athletes, racers, and anyone who spends time on the water, but at its heart, it is simply an examination of a human drama that unfolded one summer day.”
—Deborah Wiles, “Fundy race turned fatal”, The Halifax Chronicle Herald, June 8, 2008

“Fatal Tide offers a fascinating, comprehensive look into the events leading up to and following the accident, which also raises a lot of questions about the risks we take when we head out into the great outdoors for a day of adventure and fun.”
—Holly Fraughton, “Muddying the Waters”, Pique Newsmagazine, June 8, 2008

“David Leach presents a vivid look at what happens when adventure races turn deadly. Sharp and descriptive writing plunges the reader into the icy waters of the Bay of Fundy on June 1, 2002, when crashing waves and stormy winds claimed the life of René Arseneault, a 22-year-old amateur athlete from Rothesay, N.B. Drawing on dozens of interviews and years of painstaking research, Leach provides a nail-biting account of the fateful day and explores the science of hypothermia in minute detail. Along the way, he asks tough questions about what drives people to compete in extreme sports, whether true adventure can be bought and sold and how much responsibility organizers of adventure races should bear when nature triumphs over humans.”
—Geoff Dembicki, Canadian Geographic, April 2008

“True-life tales of adventure races, triathlons and Survivor-style human-endurance tests generally don’t make my reading list (Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild being a recent exception), but Fatal Tide surprised me by being an absolute page-turner that cracks along with the structure and pacing of a thriller novel.”
—John Threlfall, “Run for your Life”, Monday Magazine, May 21, 2008

“In this absorbing and meticulously researched book, explore contributor David Leach recounts what happened when the kayaking portion of a 2002 multi-sport race in New Brunswick went tragically awry, leaving one young athlete dead and the entire adventure-racing community shaken. Leach, who originally wrote about the death of 22-year-old René Arseneault for a 2003 explore article, delves more deeply here into the circumstances and controversy surrounding the event. Was Arseneault too overzealous and unprepared? Was the Fundy Multisport Race just poorly run? Would certain safety measures have saved Arseneault’s life, or are the dangers of capsizing in cold water—on any lake or bay, anywhere—such that you risk your life every time you pick up a paddle and head out?”
—Jackie Davis, explore, May 2008

“‘The whole concept of adventure tourism suggests a paradox,’ writes Leach. ‘Can you really organize an adventure? How do you simulate the thrills of the outdoors without the risks that are an essential part of any wild place?’

Five years of research into these questions, combined with some excellent writing, have produced answers worth reading.”
—Garth Woolsey, "How tourism to the extreme can be taken too far", The Star, Apr 20, 2008