Reviewed by Charles Johnson

North Star Press of St. Cloud

ISBN: 1682011100336 pages

Crime Novel/Fiction/Mystery

If it is possible after only three novels to have the fourth serve as vintage work by the author, then LYING CLOSE by Frank Weber fits that ranking.  Weber has made himself known for his dysfunctional yet likable characters, his page-turning, suspenseful style, and details that include topical news of the day and the latest in forensic police work.

The story takes place in central Minnesota, right in the middle of small towns and gravel roads – but then it will drive itself down the highway and the reader will be looking at seedy neighborhoods of Minneapolis.  This leads to the variety of a Frank Weber story.

The recurring characters in LYING CLOSE start with Jon Frederick, the resourceful investigator who knows all the procedures as well as how to circumvent them when it seems wise to do so.  His wife Serena is his devoted confidante who serves as a beacon and occasional conscience for Jon.  There’s Jon’s long-time friend Clay Roberts, who will make impulsive decisions that likely as not backfire, but in ways not expected by him or the reader.  There’s Jada, Jon’s one-time fling, who employs her news reporting skills that sometimes assist Jon in his cases, and in other times will thwart them.  The new characters – and there are going to be no spoilers here – are young, enthusiastic, decidedly bossy, totally and soulfully bankrupt of any emotion, completely dedicated to family – or a combination of any or all of these.

The suspense is paced well.  Weber has a nice way of cycling the tempo of the story so that the reader keeps interested.   At times there’s the quiet conversation over a drink in a bar, and the next thing you know, that bar isn’t so very quiet for so many other reasons, often nefarious and treacherous.

References to real-life crimes are a hallmark of Weber’s books – in this one you may be reminded by name (again, no spoilers – get the book to see what I mean) of kidnappings and murders of recent times in Minnesota.  And hey, some of these might actually intertwine with Jon Frederick’s mindset and work habits.

It’s not all police business in LYING CLOSE.  Weber, too, has a way with humor that’s witty to the point that the reader may have to stop and think as to why something is funny – or sometimes its just out and out chuckle time.

LYING CLOSE is an excellent fourth novel from forensic psychologist Frank Weber that serves as a fine page turner. It has just been released – look for it.