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Forensic psychologist Frank Weber launches second novel

The book cover of Frank Weber's second novel "The I-94 Murders." Submitted1 / 2
Forensic psychologist and author Frank Weber launches his second novel "The I-94 Murders." Weber will celebrate the book's release 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at The Crossing Arts Alliance. Submitted2 / 2

As a 21-plus-year veteran of the forensic psychology profession, Frank Weber of Pierz has spent a large portion of his life in service to those in need.

As the clinic director at CORE Professional Services, P.A, Weber has testified as an expert witness in numerous sexual assault and homicide cases and has received the President's Award from the Minnesota Correctional Association for his forensic work.

Having been in every prison in the state of Minnesota performing psychological assessments, Weber stated in a news release he has a unique understanding of victim trauma along with how predators think and work—a skill most people would agree they would rather not have. As a way to temper the stress he has encountered during his lengthy forensics career, Weber turned to fiction writing to detach from the human tragedies routinely part of his caseload. Years of therapy writing ultimately resulted in a passion for penning true crime thrillers like his first novel, "Murder Book," released to rave reviews in 2017, and most recently "The I-94 Murders" this October.

"My first book, 'Murder Book', was inspired by a real-life homicide case that I learned about from a retired BCA (Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) investigator many years ago," Weber stated. "This case happened in western Minnesota in 1985 when a 13-year-old girl was walking home and simply disappeared. When they discovered who was responsible for the crime it shocked and shook the whole community. This heartbreaking story gave me the inspiration for 'Murder Book' and the same formula is how my second book, 'The I-94 Murders,' came to be as well."

Weber went on to share, thanks to his over two decades of forensic psychology, he's been able to create memorable, emotionally flawed characters possessing believable motives and insights. Insider knowledge and an understanding of forensic profiles and criminal investigations help in formulating an action-packed thriller filled with facts and clues that work to challenge the reader to solve a murder alongside fictional detectives. But like "Murder Book," Weber confirms his inspiration for his new release, "The I-94 Murders," mirrors details pulled right from modern headlines.

"The I-94 Murders is loosely based on a true-life serial killer who hadn't been caught at the time the book was written," Weber stated. "I became very interested in a Sacramento, Calif., serial killer, initially known as the 'I-680 Rapist.' This particular predator was responsible for as many as 13 murders and over 50 rapes; many of which involved bondage and torture."

The killer was also dubbed The Golden State Killer, and his reign of terror lasted from 1974 to 1986. After becoming interested in the investigation from afar, Weber used his own knowledge of serial killers and sexual predators to do his own personal profile of the Golden State Killer. Though not part of the official investigation, Weber's suspicions that the killer was in law enforcement proved to be true when a former police officer, Joseph DeAngelo, was captured in April of 2018. Specific details of this manhunt and eventual capture of this deranged fugitive can be found throughout Weber's newest novel.

In "The I-94 Murders," published by North Star Press, Investigator Jon Frederick returns in a search to uncover the identity of a killer creeping through communities along I-94 in Minnesota, targeting couples who store their fetish photos online. Driven to find the killer, Frederick must use his wits, old-school police work, cutting-edge forensics, and his own specially created algorithm to identify and catch a cunning criminal preying on the fetish community. This mysterious killer, known only as Culhwch, leads readers on a terrifying journey of demented thinking, sexual desire, cipher-filled messages and a trail of bodies.

Along the way, Frederick must not only solve the most puzzling cases of his career, he must find a way to stay in his young daughter's life while not letting his heart be trampled again by his former lover, Serena. Within every character in "The I-94 Murders" is a carefully crafted depth and realness all readers can relate to, a news release stated. Along with murder, deception and fear, examples of real human struggle with intimacy, shame and trust are skillfully interwoven into this gripping story.

"It's always refreshing to find an author who knows his material. Minnesota writer Frank Weber has stayed close to home with his crime thriller about a freshman investigator with the state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension," Colleen Kelly, reviewer from the Star Tribune, stated.

"My goal was to write a book where, when readers learned who the killer was or were able to figure it out on their own, all the clues leading up to that point would make complete sense," Weber stated. "One of the many things that make this fiction story unique is the fact that the killer taunts the readers while doing the same to law enforcement within the pages. I wanted this true crime novel to be a story that dared the reader to identify the killer despite the twists and turns which are the realities of many murder investigations. I feel I have truly achieved that with 'The I-94 Murders.'"

Timya S. Owen, president of the Twin Cities Chapter of Sisters in Crime stated: "I like being privy to both sides of a taut and terrifying game of cat-n-mouse. Frank Weber nailed it again."

A book launch event celebrating the release of Weber's latest book will be 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, with an author presentation at 5:30 p.m. at The Crossing Arts Alliance.

The event is free and open to the public.

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