True-crime author tackles police misconduct, racism in ‘Black and Blue’
Forensic psychologist Frank F. Weber’s latest true-crime thriller, “Black and Blue,” is about the search for the killer of 19-year-old Sadie Sullivan. The Pierz resident will speak at Roundhouse Brewery in Nisswa and sign books at CatTale's Books & Gifts in downtown Brainerd.
BRAINERD — Frank F. Weber knows the dark side of human nature all too well.
He is the clinical director of CORE Professional Services on Oak Street, which addresses abuse-related problems. But the Pierz resident also writes true-crime thrillers in his spare time.
“I got started in writing as a result of my occupation because I do a lot of forensic work where I do psyche assessments in homicide, sexual assault cases,” Weber said. “I testify as an expert witness.”
Weber has written six murder mysteries based on solved cases. His latest, “Black and Blue,” is based on the killing of a police officer’s 19-year-old fiancé in Minneapolis.
“While the facts of the case are accurate, I use the same investigator, Jon Frederick, in all of the mysteries, with each book presenting a new case,” Weber said.
Weber will have a book release event for “Black and Blue” from 3-7 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Roundhouse Brewery in Nisswa and will be there at 4 p.m. to talk; and a book signing from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. May 28 at CatTale's Books & Gifts in Brainerd.
“You spend your whole day talking to serial rapists, so you can't come home to your wife and kids and say, ‘Hey, guess what I did today?’” Weber said of how he became an author. “You know that you need to find another way to get it out there. And so I started writing.”
The husband and father of three has profiled cold case homicides for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and narrated an investigative show on the Oxygen channel called “Murdered by Morning,” based on a Minnesota case.
Weber’s first book was picked up by a publisher in 2016, and Weber has attempted to publish one a year since that time. All of his books were inspired by real cases, he said.
He said of his latest, “A 19-year-old female was engaged to a white police officer and they end up finding her body — she had been raped and murdered — and there's DNA from an African American male on her body but it wasn't in the system, so it goes unsolved for two years.”
The search for the killer of Sadie Sullivan takes some surprising twists and turns along the way, and remains relevant for its present-day ties to issues like police misconduct and racism.
“This guy initially claims he never knew Sadie, the victim,” Weber said. “And eventually he says, ‘Well, we had a relationship, a friends-with-benefits relationship, but we couldn't tell anybody because I'm Black and she's white, and she's engaged to a white police officer.”
Weber unveiled his last book, "Burning Bridges," on June 19 at Roundhouse Brewery. "Burning Bridges," about a homicide in St. Cloud, includes a scene at Roundhouse Brewery, just like “Black and Blue.” The Nisswa brewery is the fictionalized setting of a real-life situation in the books.
“I feel ‘Black and Blue’ is my best book to date,” he said. “I worked closely with an African American investigator in Minneapolis in the development of this story. … It is my longest book, but it needed to be this length to create an intense mystery with the true-crime story.”
The African American man who was linked to Sullivan’s sexual assault and murder because of the DNA evidence he left at the scene from their consensual, sexual relationship was initially arrested for a sexual assault on another victim, which led to his conviction in the Sullivan case.
“A couple of years after he goes to prison, the guy she was engaged to gets arrested for a brutal rape — the white police officer,” Weber said. “He went to investigate a domestic assault case, arrested the guy, and went back to the house and raped the woman.”
Weber claimed his unique understanding of how predators think, knowledge of victim trauma and expert testimony in cases are used when he writes his true-crime thrillers, which also include "Murder Book," "The I-94 Murders," "Last Call," "Lying Close" and "Burning Bridges."
“She called the police (about the rape),” Weber said of the woman who was raped by the white police officer. “He responded to the call and raped her again. And then she called the police a third time and said, ‘This time don't send the same damn cop who raped me the last two times.’”
The white police officer is sent to prison for the sexual assault of the surviving victim, according to Weber.
“He joins a white supremacist group,” Weber said. “And in prison, he started saying — when they asked him ‘What qualifies you to be in this group?’ — he said, ‘Well, I killed my Black-loving fiancee. You’d think that would be enough,’ and so basically the (Sullivan) case gets reopened.”
“Black and Blue” will be available for purchase at CatTale's Books & Gifts and the Crossing Arts Alliance on Laurel Street, as well as the author-related events at Roundhouse Brewery and CatTale's Books & Gifts and on Amazon.com.
For more information about the author or his other published works, visit www.frankweberauthor.com .
FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL .