Pierz author launches 4th true crime novel ‘Lying Close’

“Lying Close” involves a forbidden relationship between a Somali Muslim woman and a Caucasian Christian male, who unwittingly is drawn into the web of crimes.

Lying Close book cover
The book cover of author Frank Weber's fourth book "Lying Close." Submitted photo

If one sits down at a table Oct. 3 at the Roundhouse Brewery in Nisswa, they may feel like they are part of Frank F. Weber’s fourth book “Lying Close.”

That’s because a chapter in “Lying Close,” which is a mystery of a forbidden love affair of a young couple, includes a scene where investigator Jon Frederick is sitting at the Roundhouse Brewery on Oct. 3 reflecting on a case.

On this same date — Oct. 3 — in real life, Weber will introduce his new book with a book launch scheduled 4-7 p.m. Weber will speak 5-6 p.m. about forensic psychology and writing true crime mysteries. People who attend will learn about new forensic techniques and find out what they get wrong on crime shows and movies. Weber will be hooking up a polygraph machine and will give a quick demonstration how it works.

At the book launch, Weber will sign and sell books both before and after speaking. The cover model of “Lying Close,” Elise Yates of Pierz, also will be available for pictures with patrons.

The book is part of Weber’s true-crime book series with investigator Jon Frederick. The books in the series are “Murder Book,” published in 2017; “The I-94 Murders,” published in 2018; “Last Call,” in 2019; and “Lying Close” in 2020.


Weber and his publicist, Krista Soukup from Blue Cottage Agency of Brainerd, took time Thursday, Sept. 17, to talk about the book and the book launch during a Zoom interview. “Lying Close” involves a forbidden relationship between a Somali Muslim woman and a white Christian man who unwittingly is drawn into the web of crimes. The story references actual Minnesota cases and the racial history of central Minnesota. Each chapter is introduced with a science theory related to the events of the chapter.

Weber said “Lying Close” was an interesting book to write because he enjoys writing about true crime stories. Weber, a 25-year veteran in the forensic psychology profession, has spent a large portion of his life in service to those in need. As the clinic director at CORE Professional Services, his work has ranged from assessing murderers chained to the cement floor in the basement of a prison to providing therapy for wealthy professionals who’ve engaged in multiple affairs. 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.

To relieve some of the stress he encountered during his forensic career, Weber turned to fiction writing as a way of detaching from the human tragedies routinely part of his caseload. Weber said his fourth novel is a result of several little stories of actual events — a hunting accident, a rural home break-in and the disappearance of a teen — that he combined into one big story.

Frank Weber
Author Frank Weber

“As a therapist who deals with a lot of issues, one of the things I’ve been dealing with in the St. Cloud area is we have several situations where we have a Somali Muslim woman or man who is dating a white Christian from the St. Cloud community,” Weber said. “And this book brings up the interesting dynamics of that and I wanted to work that into the book ... just to get people thinking about it, and just thinking about the racial history and include some of that racial history in the book.

“It's interesting to me. ... I had a couple of people who have already finished the book, even though they've only had it for two days, and they told me that it really made them think about racial issues in rural Minnesota. And that was my point and that makes me feel good.”

According to the book’s synopsis, “‘Lying Close’ begins when a couple’s rural home is broken into in Todd County. Investigator Jon Frederick is sent to investigate a rural hunting accident in neighboring Stearns County. A teen runaway from Minneapolis calls for help in Paynesville, Minn., and disappears. Three crimes that are not that unusual, had they not all occurred within 30 miles of each other. Jon’s task is to put the puzzle together, while a dangerous predator lurks about central Minnesota. When the case goes cold, Jon realizes someone very close to the investigation has been leaking information. As you venture through the story from each character’s perspective, you realize everyone is lying a little.”


Getting Weber’s fourth book published was a bit different than his previous book, due to the pandemic. Soukup said publishers were delaying book releases and Weber was writing faster than the companies could keep up. So because of this, Weber decided to publish his own book, which gave him 100% control on the timing of when the book would be released.

“If we wouldn’t have done this, the book would have been delayed until probably next year,” Soukup said.

Weber said having his own self-publishing entity also allows him control of his own book covers. He said many publishers like to recommend their own suggested book covers and he enjoys creating his own book covers.

Weber is almost done writing his fifth book “Burning Bridges,” which is about a homicide in St. Cloud. Publishing companies were telling him this book wouldn’t be published until October 2021.

Weber has received a lot of attention with his book series. For his fifth book, a filming crew from the Oxygen Channel TV investigative series called “Snapped” will be in town sometime this month to film an interview with him about the St. Cloud homicide.

Soukup said Weber also will be featured Thursday on a Minnesota Humanities live discussion on “true crime” with Amanda Vicary, University of Illinois, who has done extensive research on true crime and Amanda Jacobson, who has a podcast called Wine and Crime with over 200,000 followers.

When the coronavirus hit this past spring, Weber had to cancel about 20 presentations promoting his books. Soukup said Weber, like many authors, had to find another outlet to reach his readers. Weber did some Facebook live events and did a live talk on Facebook called “True Crime Tuesdays.”

Weber said all his books can be read as a series or as stand-alone mystery/thrillers. Tiffany Madson of Brainerd edited Weber’s fourth book.


“Lying Close” is available at CatTales Books and The Crossing Arts Alliance in Brainerd; The Shoppes of Little Falls; and Reds Auto in Pierz. It also can be ordered online at .

Weber also discussed his main character — Jon Frederick.

“Jon Frederick is the protagonist,” Weber said, “He is the investigator who is a little obsessive and it works for me to write that way because that's exactly how I am. He sometimes has these thoughts that run through his head of just data about situations and just reflecting on things. ... He’s always got this stuff kind of going through his head of data. And I think it’s interesting, especially because I use actual crime data in Minnesota. And so people can look at it and think and reflect on that. For example, 45% of all underage sex workers in Minnesota are African American. That just makes you think about populations and things that need to be changed and problems that need to be addressed. There are a variety of things that I like having that dialogue in my books just to get people to think about the data.”

Weber said through his forensic work and writing books, he’s been asked by investigators to help them with cold cases. Authorities have allowed him to go through the evidence and files of the cold cases to see if he can offer insight on the case. Weber said he helped authorities solve a case in California.

“I started looking at the case and looking at all the information I could get on the case,” Weber said. “And then I thought the reason this case is unsolved is because they have the profile wrong. ... It's interesting. There's always a number of things, in my work, you get a good idea of the criminal by the way the crime is committed. I don't believe psychopaths are born, I believe they're made. And so when you look at the way people act out a crime, it has a lot to do with their own history.

“And so this person is breaking into houses. He was raping, tying up and raping women, sometimes killing them, sometimes killing men. And so, I decided to develop my own profile on the person. This is a person who was probably single when he was committing most of these crimes. He probably works a rather mundane job but has some knowledge of law enforcement and was probably either abused as a small child or witnessed abuse.”

Weber said he provided his thoughts to authorities and suggested they use genealogy to track down the killer. Weber said California changed the law to allow investigators to use genealogy and they tracked the killer down that way.

“When they caught the person, they found out he had been a cop for two years, but he had worked in a grocery store for the last 26 years of his life,” Weber said. “He was single during most of the crimes. When he was 7 years old, he saw his sister raped by two men.”


If you go

  • What: “Lying Close” book launch.

  • When: 4-7 p.m. Oct. 3 at Roundhouse Brewery in Nisswa; and a second event from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at Beaver Island Brewing Company in St. Cloud.

  • Cost: Both events are free, but seats are limited to 35 patrons at the St. Cloud event. People who want to attend the out-of-town event must register at .


  • “Refreshingly different and insightful, unlike anything I’ve read before. I can’t wait to see what Frank put on paper next.” - Sheila DeChantel, Book Journey Book Reviewer, and Friends of Brainerd Public Library member.

  • “The author powerfully conjures a dark atmosphere of dread that’s made all the more affecting by the fact that the story takes place in the seemingly sleepy environs of rural Minnesota. An interesting compilation of thoughts regarding a mystery about love and family.” - Kirkus Review.
JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at or 218-855-5851. Follow me at on Twitter.

Frank Weber
Author Frank Weber

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