The Backlist

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About the author

Frank Zafiro

Frank Zafiro primarily writes gritty crime fiction from both sides of the badge. This includes his River City series (an ensemble cast of police officers) and his SpoCompton series (a rotating cast of criminals). His storytelling creed is that the good guys usually win… but not always, and never without a cost. (Hey, a man’s gotta have a code).

Frank served in the U.S. Army from 1986-91 in Military Intelligence as a Czechoslovak linguist. In 1993, he became  a police officer in Spokane, Washington. During his career, he worked as a patrol officer, corporal, and detective before entering into leadership roles, becoming a sergeant in 2002. He was fortunate enough to command patrol officers, investigators, K-9 officers (and their dogs!), and the SWAT team. He also commanded both the patrol division and the investigative division of the police department at different points in his career.

Frank retired from law enforcement in 2013 as a captain in order to write full time and to teach. From 2013-17, he taught law enforcement subject matter at Spokane Community College and Whitworth University, and leadership as a national instructor for International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). He also occasionally teaches a series of writing workshops. Frank earned a BA in History from Eastern Washington University in 1998, and an MS in Administration of Justice from the University of Louisville in 2012.

Frank began writing seriously at about thirteen. In 1995, he started a draft of Under A Raging Moon, which would eventually become the first book in the River City series of crime fiction. Since then, Frank has completed numerous novels set in River City, a fictional version of Spokane, Washington. These include the River City series and the Stefan Kopriva mystery series (beginning with Waist Deep)

Some of Frank’s stories are set in the “real” Spokane, such as the SpoCompton series (which features criminals rather than cops), Jack McCrae Mysteries (beginning with At This Point in My Life), and The Last Horseman (a Sandy Banks Thriller). All of these exist in the same universe. Along with Colin Conway, Frank wrote the Charlie-316 series of novels, which take place in a different version of Spokane.

Frank’s work has also ventured to other cities. Examples include the Chicago setting for Blood on Blood, the first book in the Ania trilogy, written with Jim Wilsky, or the Las Vegas setting for Queen of Diamonds (Ania #2). Books with an East Coast flavor include his “A Bricks & Cam Job” series with Eric Beetner beginning with The Backlist, and his novels with Lawrence Kelter, (The Last Collar, No Dibs on Murder and Fallen City). 

Frank has held the #1 author spot for police procedurals on Amazon multiple times. Frank’s books are available in all formats — paperback, ebook, and audio book. In addition to novels, dozens of Franks’ short stories have been published in magazines and numerous anthologies. He is a four-time finalist for the Derringer Award (for short crime fiction).

Frank is the creator and editor of the novella anthology series, A Grifter’s Song, to which he also contributes episodes.

In addition to being a writer, Frank hosted the crime fiction podcast, Wrong Place, Write Crime from 2017-22 (episodes remain available for listeners).
He also writes under two different pen names. His mainstream fiction is under his real name, Frank Scalise, and his forthcoming fantasy work under the name Frank Saverio.

​​​​​​​Frank lives in Redmond, Oregon, with his wife, Kristi. He is an avid hockey fan, reader, lover of good TV and films, a gamer, and a tortured guitarist.