About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Exchanging Thoughts on Call of the Void with Jeremy Siemens

After posting my review of Call of the Void by Jeremy Siemens I wrote to Jeremy. He promptly responded. I appreciate his willingness to reply to my observations and questions. He is a thoughtful guy.



Thanks for sending me a copy of the ARC for Call of the Void.

Even before opening the book I was drawn into the story by the amazing cover of a reflective, even haunted, Sloane. The forest background was perfect. In the covers for Call of the Void and To Those Who Killed Me you have a pair of books that grab any book
buyer who sees them.

With this email I include a link to my review of the book. In the review I predicted Call of the Void will be on Award shortlists this year. I know it will be a strong contender for my personal Bill’s Best of 2024. 

Sloane continues to be an amazing sleuth. 

I was struck that in the book that Hollywood star, Haley Cooper, wants to portray Sloane, her bodyguard / babysitter, in a T.V. series. It is an intriguing premise that the fictional Sloane of your book would be turned into a fictional - fictional screen sleuth. Were it to be that your books featuring Sloane were made into a television series we could have a fictional - fictional - fictional Sloane.

While I consider the violence quotient in Call of the Void ample I fear it would not be enough for the Hollywood of 2024. There are not enough bodies for current Hollywood thrillers. In Call of the Void, Sloane does not kill anyone. Is there interest in a T.V. series being made about Sloane?

In an exchange of emails with you on To Those Who Killed Me I expressed my hope that the next book would have less violence.

In your reply you stated:

That said, book 2 (CALL OF THE VOID) is a little less violent, a little less brutal, but perhaps even more unsettling.

I agree there was less physical violence in Call of the Void and that it is “more unsettling”. The levels of emotional violence and torture of the mind were definitely disturbing.

Now I hope that, going forward, Sloane can have a sustained loving relationship. There were hints that it was possible in Call of the Void. Few fictional sleuths, especially hard boiled investigators, have successful romantic relationships. I would love to see Sloane succeed in love.

I wrote a chapter on crime fiction in Saskatchewan for Volume 3 of A Literary History of Saskatchewan. I focused on the books of Gail Bowen, Anthony Bidulka, Suzanne North, Nelson Brunanski and Alan Bradley. I observed that all of their sleuths had positive family relationships. I appreciate none of them were writing noir crime fiction. Still I can wish for some happiness in her life to allow Sloane to realize she is worthy of a good relationship.

In my review of To Those Who Killed Me I said I was glad to have experienced Sloane’s wild ride. My appreciation of riding with Sloane grew in Call of the Void. I look forward to more rides with her. You have a memorable character in Sloane.

If you are able to respond to this email and my review I would be glad to post your reply.

All the best.



Hi Bill,

Thanks once again for your fantastic review of CALL OF THE VOID. I am especially proud of this novel and am pleased that you liked it. 

I'm glad you mentioned the cover. I am happy to say that some of my ideas were implemented by the superb designer, Michel Vrana. I sought to evoke the same creepy vibe I got during my initial research in the backroads of the Mission, B.C. area. There is a true darkness to that area of the province, and when I began the first draft, the unsettling feeling I felt bled into the pages. The cover captures that sense perfectly. 

The Haley Cooper subplot. I'm a big Michael Connellly fan, and I love how he manages to seamlessly weave several seemingly disparate plots into many of his novels. I wanted to do something similar with CALL OF THE VOID, and since many investigation firms provide security/bodyguard work--and given the ubiquity of film sets in Vancouver--Sloane guarding an off-the-rails starlet seemed the perfect fit. I had a great deal of fun with that particular subplot, and although there are some serious elements to it, the slightly-absurd goings-on provide a nice juxtaposition to the heaviness of the main story.

As far as there being a Sloane television series, there is nothing in the works as yet, but I will say that I wrote her with the screen in mind. Before I wrote novels, I wrote screenplays. Many, many screenplays. None of them went anywhere, but they taught me structure, pacing, and got me very comfortable with writing dialogue. The screenplays did get me on some film sets (which assisted me with some scenes in VOID), and because they were my foundation, I tend to think and write cinematically. I even have an actress in mind to play Sloane, although for now I'll keep who it is to myself.

Violence. The first novel was what some have called ultra-violent. I don't know about that, but I do know that Sloane endured tremendous physical and psychological trauma during those events, and everyone has a limit. I struggle with violent scenes and combat scenes, because it's very important to me to portray them as realistically as possible. I come from a martial arts background, and know what it's like to be in a street-confrontation where someone wants to hurt you. In the real world violence is often shockingly brutal and life-altering, and I never want to create anything gratuitous. However, there are other types of violence that are undoubtedly worse. CALL OF THE VOID explores some of them.

Sloane's relationship. At this point, Sloane is a fully-fleshed out character that lives inside my head. She's a bit of me, but also a composite of many tough and resilient women I've known. She's a heavily-flawed hero with more to offer than she believes, and she deserves love. I care for her too much to allow her to grow into a depressed noir cliche who spends every night alone with a bottle.

Thanks again, Bill, for giving me the opportunity to dig a little deeper into the why of what I do.

All best,

Jeremy Siemens


 Siemens, J.T. - (2022) - To Those Who Killed Me and Exchange with Jeremy and Codicils in Fiction and Real Life; (2024) - Call of the Void


  1. What an interesting interview. Thank you both for sharing your thoughts. Sloane does sound like an interesting character. And those covers really are fantastic. They certainly would make me pick up the book!

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Sloane is very interesting. Those covers call out to be picked up.