Baltimore-based thriller inhabits criminal underground

Written by on June 18, 2015 in Featured - No comments
Author, E.A. Aymar

Author, E.A. Aymar

In Baltimore, crime is not new to us. We turn on the news and see it everywhere, violence taking hold, people being hurt, people acting out of anger and pain. But what is new is delving into this world and seeing how people can get tangled in a web they didn’t plan to weave.

“You’re As Good As Dead” is the second novel of a trilogy by Ed Aymar, a sequel to his debut “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead”. The novels explore the desperate lengths one man will go to survive after his plans for revenge go astray, even if it means betraying those around him.

The reader follows Tom Starks, a professor at a community college who is sucked into the labyrinth of the criminal underground following the murder of his wife. He believes he left the events of the first novel in the past and yearns  to return to normalcy.

However, Starks is thrown back into this dangerous world after he witnesses the murder of highly-ranked crime boss. He is used by the FBI as an informant to the crime all while a murderer know as the Judge, and his pack of ruthless killers, reek havoc across Baltimore

“You’re As Good As Dead’ is the sequel to Ed Aymar’s first novel, “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” which follows a man seeking revenge after his wife is murdered. | Photos courtesy of Ed Aymar and Black Opal Books

“You’re As Good As Dead’ is the
sequel to Ed Aymar’s first novel, “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” which follows a man seeking revenge after his wife is murdered. | Photos courtesy of Ed Aymar and Black Opal Books

“You’re As Good As Dead” asks the question: “What do you do when you’re caught between warring crime families and ruthless federal agents?”

Starks must quadruple-cross and think a dozen steps ahead of his enemies if he is to stay alive during this predicament.

The “Dead Trilogy” has garnered praise from critics who laud Aymar on his
unexpected plot twists and emotionally complex characters.

Many of these emotional moments are seen through the eyes of Starks in a familiar location.

Aymar said that in both his books, Starks has an epiphany, a moment of clarity, in Patterson Park, which marks the turning point of the plot.

This a testament to Aymar’s overall respect for Baltimore which is sprinkled throughout the story.

For example, Starks himself is a hometown boy. He was born in Dundalk, lives in Federal Hill, and has roots in Highlandtown.

For Aymar, setting the adventures in Baltimore was obvious.

“Baltimore was the automatic setting.
I never even thought twice about it,” he said.

Aymar lives in Washington D.C. but has always had a fascination with Baltimore. He was born in a military family so he never had a permanent place he could call home, but found immense inspiration in Baltimore during his visits.

“I kind of fell in love with Baltimore,” he said, joking that Fell’s Point was a great place to take people on dates. “It just made a perfect setting for a great match. There’s loneliness but a real warmth. I look at Baltimore as this little city that’s big enough to have tons of voices.”

This book is a bit of a departure stylistically, Aymar said, a change he called “cool, but scary.” He said that as a writer you have to challenge yourself and break out of what you’re used to doing. He said that if he feels himself getting bored with his writing, then his readers would be even more bored.

“It was a bit different because the first book was all  from one’s characters perspective and he was talking in past-tense and had a traditional way of looking at the world. With this one, I felt sort of free to write something a little different, with different perspectives and points of view and I tried to make a point of surprising myself. It was cool to a have moment and you’re like ‘wow, I can’t believe that character did this, and then you’re like, ‘oh, I wrote it.’”

He described Baltimore as having a “gothic sense of romanticism” which fits with Starks’ lamentations over his lost wife. Starks’ emotional depth is what propels the story, said Aymar. While his novels feature the  common tropes of the crime/thriller genre, he believes its important to develop characters that the audience can see themselves in. We relate to Starks and in that, get at least some understanding into the minds of criminals and what pushes them to such acts.

“You’re as Good as Dead” was released by Black Opal Books on Saturday, June 13 and is available through all major online retailers and regional bookstores.

For more information on Aymar’s work, visit

By Gianna DeCarlo

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