Pierz-based award-winning author Frank Weber visited Battle Lake on Saturday to promote his investigator, Jon Frederick series of books, the third and most recent of which, “Last Call,” was released last year. His next book, “Lying Close,” is set to release in September 2020.
Weber has worked for 25 years as a forensic psychologist, having previously worked as a behavioral analyst for the state. Working within the system frustrated him as he saw a number of ways it could be improved.
“I got frustrated that there was such a lack of accountability for people committing crimes and so I started complaining to people in the Department of Corrections about it and they asked me if I would start a program. So I started my own company called CORE, 25 years ago,” he says. Weber has developed a program for counties around the state to better serve convicts and victims, including checking to make sure people who are required to attend counseling actually attend and having them attend classes on healthy relationships.
“I actually started in Staples for Todd and Wadena counties, and now the program I’ve started serves 70 to 87 counties in Minnesota,” he says.
Having also profiled cold cases for investigators, writing is one way for Weber to vent and talk about his work.
“I went and trained with Robert Hare, who’s the world expert in psychopaths, in Toronto, Canada, I trained with the Masters and Johnson Sexual Compulsivity Program in New Orleans, and so corrections started asking me to do a lot of this work, so I do assessments in homicide and sexual assault cases and domestic abuse cases all over the state, and I realized I need a way of venting,” he says. “It’s not like, if you spent your day talking to a serial rapist you can come home and tell your wife and kids, ‘Hey, guess what I did today?’ You know, you’d traumatize your entire family.”
He began writing his stories and keeping them in a three-ring binder in the closet. His wife encouraged him to submit them for publication.
“So we took this one case that I thought was very intriguing, that had actually happened in Wadena county, and sent it to a publisher. The publisher got it and loved it and said, ‘You should start on a sequel, this is going to sell,’ and it’s just taken off from there,” Weber says.
All of his books, except for “The I-94 Murders,” are based on actual Minnesota murders. “I take real cases and then I rewrite them in a new community so you’re not retraumatizing the same people, and change their names,” he says. “Last Call” is based on a case that occurred in northeast Minnesota but the story begins in Brainerd and includes scenes in Detroit Lakes, Moorhead, St. Cloud and Battle Lake. “The I-94 Murders” are based on murders that happened along the I-680 in California, rewritten to take place in Minnesota.
Before starting his career with the state, Weber was a social studies teacher and still enjoys teaching.
“I’ve taught college developmental psychology and social problems classes on a part-time basis for 32 years, that’s been one of my hobbies, I do like teaching, so I just teach a class or two every semester,” he says.
Although he has traveled all over the state for his work, having visited every prison and almost every jail in the state, he prefers to stay in rural Minnesota.
“I like rural Minnesota, I just like it. I love visiting cities, but I enjoy living in rural Minnesota,” he says.
While in Battle Lake, Weber spoke with visitors at the farmers market about his experiences and answered questions. He also signed and sold his novels, including a bundle of his three books wrapped in crime scene tape, and took preorders for his upcoming novel, the fourth in the series, “Lying Close.”