Award-winning author returns with tense, gritty thriller that explores how well we really know those closest to us


In ‘They’re Gone,’ two women’s lives are turned upside down after violent deaths, and both will risk everything to survive the secrets that are uncovered

Fairfax, VA — A respected and skilled veteran of the thriller community, E.A. Aymar returns with a new novel written as E.A. Barres. They’re Gone, (Nov. 10, Crooked Lane Books) opens with a bang and never lets up.

Two men from vastly different backgrounds are murdered one after another on the same night, in the same fashion with two bullet wounds: one in the head, another in the heart. The two slayings send their wives on a desperate search for answers–and a desperate attempt to save their families’ lives.

Grief takes a heavy toll on northern Virginia freelance editor Deb Linh Thomas when she learns of her husband’s murder. And utter dismay sets in when, just a week after the funeral, she discovers that he had been the subject of an FBI investigation after withdrawing a large sum of money from their shared accounts.

Elsewhere, Baltimore bartender Cessy Castillo is less bereft when her abusive husband, ex-cop Hector Ramirez, is killed. But it turns out that he was deep in hock–and now Cessy’s expected to pay up. Deb and the FBI agent assigned to her case start digging into her husband’s murder and learn that he had been the target of criminals.

As Deb and Cessy join forces to learn the truth, their investigation reveals an ever-darker web of clues, but if they’re not careful, they may just end up like their husbands.

“Smartly plotted, violent, and utterly absorbing.”
— Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“They’re Gone”
E.A. Barres | Nov. 10, 2020 | Crooked Lane Books
Hardcover | 978-1643855554 | $26.99
E-book | B084V8GKLG | $12.99

Praise for E.A. Aymar and ‘They’re Gone’

“Expertly plotted and action-packed, but it also features a diverse cast of characters — including two strong women of color as protagonists — and offers biting social commentary.”

“Solid… This women-fight-back thriller will please those looking to vicariously smack down a few hulking villains.”
Publishers Weekly

They’re Gone is a powerful, gritty mystery that firmly establishes E.A. Barres as a voice to be reckoned with in the genre. Barres deftly weaves two very different stories together to create one compulsively readable and defiantly of-the-moment whodunit that lingers with you long after you’ve read the last page.”
Alex Segura, acclaimed author of the Pete Fernandez series

“In his new novel, E.A. Barres masterfully weaves together the stories of two very different women and their burning desire to learn the truth about their murdered husbands. They’re Gone is about secrets and marriage, betrayal and grief, and will leave you questioning whether you can ever really know someone. A stunning, dark, evocative thriller.”
Jennifer Hillier, award-winning author of Jar of Hearts and Little Secrets

“They’re Gone is a relentless, pulse-pounding thriller that showcases E.A. Barres’s talent for injecting gritty crime stories with sympathetic, emotionally complex characters and sharp black humor. Barres skillfully combines a dark story about corruption, greed, and violence with an emotional arc about grief, resilience, and the lengths a person will go to protect their family—all while keeping the pace swift and the dialogue witty.”
Kathleen Barber, author of Are You Sleeping and Follow Me

“Boundaries fade and clay feet abound in this nail-biter of a thriller as E.A. Barres guides readers skillfully through the minds, hearts, and pasts of three women who have nothing in common until they have everything to lose. Perfect pacing and imperfect heroes make this book a hard one to put down!”
Susan Crawford, bestselling author of The Pocket Wife and The Other Widow

“Intense, gritty and absolutely riveting, E.A. Barres’s perfectly constructed plot unfolds with the thoughtful precision and menace of a cat burglar. They’re Gone seamlessly blends heart-pounding action with searing social commentary. This thriller has a deliciously dark wit that makes for an unforgettable read.”
Hilary Davidson, bestselling author of One Small Sacrifice

More about E.A. Aymar

Anthony Award-nominated E.A. Aymar’s next thriller, They’re Gone, will be published in November under his pseudonym E.A. Barres. His most recent thriller, The Unrepentant, was published in 2019 and is currently a 2020 nominee for the Anthony Award in the category of Best Paperback Original.

His past thrillers include the novels-in-stories The Swamp Killers and The Night of the Flood, in which he served as co-editor and contributor. He has a monthly column in the Washington Independent Review of Books, is a former member of the national board of the International Thriller Writers and, for years, was the managing editor of The Thrill Begins, an online resource for debut and aspiring writers. He is also an active member of Crime Writers of Color, the Mystery Writers of America and SinC. He also runs the Noir at the Bar series for Washington, D.C., and has hosted and spoken at a variety of crime fiction, writing, and publishing events nationwide. He was born in Panama and now lives in the DC/MA/VA triangle.

Learn more at

In an interview, E.A. Aymar can discuss:

  • The challenges and his approach as a man writing female characters
  • Incorporating his heritage into his books, and including perspective from characters with mixed race backgrounds
  • His work in the D.C. area in support of writers, as well as his work with writing organizations
  • Why he thinks the DC/MD/VA region is such a hub for crime fiction
  • Pivoting to virtual events during COVID times for his popular D.C. Noir at the Bar

An Interview with E.A. Aymar

1. As an experienced thriller writer, how do you keep your ideas fresh?

There’s an excitement in crime fiction today that I’ve never felt before; it’s a movement that embraces marginalized writers, and gives their work a sense of placement and importance that’s historically lagged. I’m a part of this change, both because of my race and the topics in my writing, and it’s so exciting to be part of a literary movement. And that excitement has opened the door to new ideas and approaches to crime fiction that weren’t accessible before. Ideas are fresh when they’re inspired, and this is an inspiring time to write.

2. Many of your characters have mixed race backgrounds. Why is this important for you to include?

I was born in Panama, and my mom is Panamanian and my dad is white. I lived there for about three years before we moved to the states, and I was always the only mixed kid in my classes. I wasn’t fully accepted by the white or hsipanic kids and, even though I wasn’t friendless, it was always a bit isolating. And I didn’t really feel like I had a voice that was worth contributing.

That’s not the case anymore. There are so many mixed-race kids out there, and I just love it. I love that my son won’t experience the isolation I did, because growing up in the DC/MD/VA triangle exposes him to dozens and dozens of cultures. And I see so many people who don’t know where they fit in, who were raised in two (or more) cultures and don’t have a sense of representation. I want to give those people someone to whom they can relate.

3. What is your approach to writing women protagonists?

I don’t want to be the kind of guy who goes overboard with this, or is way too thirsty – you know, the kind of guy who has an IG profile photo of him wearing a “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt. But I grew up in male-dominated cultures, whether it was as a military brat, or in sports, or in a fraternity, and I witnessed firsthand how vicious and violent men can be. That’s not to say women are blameless; just that the proclivity for violence and bigotry was never as pronounced (or present) when I was among groups of women.

Plus, I write crime fiction. Which means I research crime, and most of the most heinous criminals out there are men. The stats for sexual violence, or violent criminals, are filled with men. Not women. But, in thrillers, it’s always men who are the heroes. I want to write against that. I want to be honest.

4. You belong to and contribute to many writing organizations and events in the D.C. area. How has that changed you or helped you in your field?

The D.C. region is so fantastic for writing. National writing organizations like Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime have wonderful local chapters here, and there’s a wealth of talent and knowledge in the area. I run a reading series for crime fiction writers called Noir at the Bar, and I have a pool of close to a hundred traditionally published crime fiction writers I can pull from. And it’s a terrifically supportive community, as well. I think this region is producing some of the best crime fiction written today.

5. How did you manage to combine the gritty elements of a thriller with humor and the warmth of a newly found friendship?

Two of my favorite writers are John Updike and Anne Tyler, and neither writes crime fiction. I admire their close look at families and friendships, and how they’re able to draw so much from relationships. As much as I love crime fiction and the tension of a tight plot, I love character, and the feeling when a reader identifies with someone they’re reading about. I never want to write a book where that lacks. I want pages to move because the plot is pulling you forward, and that has to happen because you’re reading about someone you care about.