Ask the Expert: Ex-FBI Agent Jodi Weber

Edith writing from north of Boston, where the weather can’t decide if it’s full winter snowstorm or sunny early spring. No matter what the season, I’m delighted to bring you Jodene Weber for this month’s Ask the Expert feature.

Last fall I asked author pal Annette Dashofy if she had a contact in the FBI. I had a question in my WIP, and I knew Annette had completed a Citizens’ FBI Academy a few years ago. She wrote back saying her local Sisters in Crime chapter had a member who was retired from the FBI, and asked if I wanted her to put us in touch. “Yes, please!” was my quick response.

Jodi and I arranged a time to connect on the telephone. The information she gave me was super helpful. I was scheduled to be the Wicked Authors blog wrangler for March, and I knew I still had a few guest spots available on the schedule. When I invited Jodi to join us, she responded something along the lines of, “Yes, please!”

From Nancy Drew to Silence of the Lambs: How I became an FBI Agent, a Psychological Suspense writer, and a True Crime Podcaster

As writers, many of us can easily name our favorite childhood books. For me, my love of reading and mysteries became entrenched the first time I sat down with a Nancy Drew book. I loved curling up with those distinctive yellow-spined books, and I eagerly saved up my allowance money to buy one after another, fascinated by all the crimes Nancy solved with her best friends Bess and George. As I grew older, my reading tastes graduated to Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell, and of course, the queen of suspense, Mary Higgins Clark.

I loved mysteries so much I majored in journalism in college. Upon graduating, I worked as a television news anchor and reporter, covering all the unsolved mysteries and murder trials that were happening in my home state of Wisconsin.

But then I did something that changed my life: I went to the movies with some friends and saw Silence of the Lambs. Watching Jodie Foster on the big screen planted a question in my mind: How does a woman become an FBI agent? I tracked down a local FBI agent and interviewed him, and at the end of my interview, he said something to me that changed the course of my life. He told me I had a gift for interviewing, and that the FBI needed female agents who had this skill. He encouraged me to apply to become a Special Agent. It took two years of applications, interviews, tests, background checks, and lots of running and pushups before I was accepted into the FBI Academy in 1997. A new career revolving around mysteries was born.

I worked as a Special Agent with the FBI for 22 years, in three field offices: Atlanta, Norfolk, and Pittsburgh. During my career, I worked on the Centennial Olympic Park bombing case and the subsequent fugitive investigation tracking serial bomber Eric Rudolph. I was a 9/11 responder at the Pentagon and worked the crime scene for 16 days as an evidence response team leader with the FBI. I was the case agent on numerous high profile international terrorism cases, as well as many complex crime investigations.

By age 50, when I was eligible to retire, my body had had enough of the wear and tear of all the ongoing training, stress, and danger FBI agents experience. I wanted to retire to spend more time with my children and write my suspense novels. Little did I know Covid-19 would put us into lock-down two weeks after I retired. While my children were home-schooling during the early days of the pandemic, I was on my laptop, too, crunching out a psychological suspense novel, The Bald Revelation. This manuscript is on query now and I am crossing my fingers I will soon land representation.

Life threw me a surprise in early 2023. I was invited to provide expert commentary about the Idaho College Murder Case on the Reality Life with Kate Casey podcast. One appearance led to another, and another, and another. I am now a frequent guest on her podcast, and she encouraged me to start my own podcast.

With the help of my writing critique partner and great friend Carole Jones (author of This New Job’s Murder, A Melody Shore Mystery), I launched Caught In My Web,. It’s a true crime podcast covering mysteries, murders, and cases capturing my attention. This podcast allows me to share my analysis of true crime cases in the headlines and gives listeners perspective on how law enforcement works cases, and what prosecutors consider before filing charges or seeking indictments. For the third time in my life, I found a career revolving around mysteries, and it all started because I picked up a Nancy Drew book in second grade.

As writers, it is important to keep up on true crime cases and consult with law enforcement to accurately reflect how cases are investigated. This is the biggest error I see when reading mysteries. Stay current! Technology must play a role in your mysteries. There’s no investigation that occurs nowadays without examination of computers and cell phones. One of the best resources I have found is true crime podcasts and documentaries. Your readers follow these cases, and they know the latest techniques law enforcement utilizes in solving crimes. This is a wonderful way to learn details, specifics, and technicalities you can incorporate into your stories.

One final thought: most mystery writers and readers share a very specific quality with members of law enforcement. They want justice for victims. No one wants to read a mystery where the criminal gets away or the case is left unsolved. And never forget, the mystery you write might be as influential to a reader as that yellow-spined Nancy Drew book was to me decades ago.

Readers: do you have a mystery book from childhood that influenced your career? What documentaries or podcasts would you recommend to fellow writers that have helped you when researching your novels? Writers, questions about my former work?

Jodene Weber is a retired Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and a former television journalist. A mom of two, Jodene hosts her own true crime podcast, Caught In My Web, and is a writer of psychological suspense novels. She is an active member of the Mary Roberts Rinehart chapter of Sisters In Crime.

Subscribe to her podcast, Caught In My Web, on

Facebook: Caught In My Web

Twitter: @JodeneWeber

Instagram: @WeberJodene

Reality Life with Kate Casey is available on all major podcast platforms.

In The Bald Revelation, Claudia Carlton is a potential dead-woman walking in upstate New York, with a room of disguises she uses to camouflage the physical effects of alopecia, as well as a deep secret. Claudia operates the local news website The Finger Lakes Flash and receives an anonymous tip suggesting local deaths are murders disguised by a clever veil. Intrigued and desperate to expose the truth, Claudia races against time to stop a murderer masquerading in plain sight with a killer deadline.

18 Thoughts

  1. Fascinating! My husband and I love to watch true crime shows and see how they are solved. I’m always amazed at how dumb some criminals can be, researching “how to get rid of a body” on their computers, but then again isn’t it good it helps solve a case. And pinging cellphones off towers to help locate people seems to help alot, too. Thank you for all your years of hard work!

    1. Thank you Kathy! That’s precisely why I created my podcast…to help people understand how crimes can be solved and to be better aware of the dangers in the world.

  2. I love watching true crime programs too. On one the guy showed up to be questioned wearing the same shoes he was wearing when he committed the murder which had small spots of blood on them and of course the detectives saw it right away.

  3. Great post today!

    While I don’t know if any particular mystery book influenced my life per se, I do know that “The Hound of the Baskervilles” remains one of the defining points of my mystery-loving life.

    Jodi, welcome to Wicked Authors! You certainly have led and continue to lead quite the exciting life. I’m not a big podcast listener but I’ll check out yours this weekend. As for a question, have you ever had to clear something in your books because you worked on something similar in your FBI career?

    1. Hello! Since I write fiction, I have not had to clear my novels with the FBI Publicity and Public Affairs Unit, but should I ever write about my cases I worked on, then I would need to clear it. Any case still active or under investigation I am prohibited from talking or writing about until fully adjudicated.

  4. Thank you for introducing me to Jodi Weber. I can’t wait for her book to be published so I can read it. Love a book with accurate and researched details and you can’t get better than her personal experiences to fold into a story.

    What an amazing and exciting life! It is amazing how little turns in our life can lead to great adventures we didn’t even expect – even if they linger fictionally in the back of our minds. Hubby is also retired (although not in the same field) and to us retirement is doing what you enjoy and doing it on your own schedule. Although you are retired, it seems to me that you are doing just that.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Hi Kay! Exactly! Writing my novels and working on my podcast is fantastic-I’m my own boss, and I can schedule it around my active teenagers and all of their activities! Plus, I love the freedom to be creative!

  5. Welcome, Jodi! Of course, I already know you and what a fabulous person you are. I, too, started with those yellow-spined Nancy Drew books. But I’d have to say the turning point for me was Agatha Christie’s MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS and MHC’s STILLWATCH.

    If you’re a writer, I’d also recommend the Writer’s Detective Bureau with Adam Richardson.

  6. Welcome to the Wickeds, Jodi! I don’t have any FBI questions at the moment, but may have for something I plan to work on later in the year.

  7. What a wonderful interview! I hope you get the book published :D. oh my childhood book that got me hooked? The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie.

  8. Welcome to the blog! This is so interesting and I never thought about using podcasts or documentaries for research. I also grew up on Nancy Drew!

  9. It’s a great way to see how real cases are worked, unique circumstances, challenges, etc. Plus, readers of mysteries watch true crime en masse. They know what techniques law enforcement utilize and if a book doesn’t include modern techniques, they will stop reading.

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