She’s an Israeli data analyst. He’s a headstrong Bulgarian detective. Together they must track down those responsible for a horrific bombing.
In the wake of a deadly terrorist attack at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria, Israeli and Bulgarian intelligence agencies launch a joint investigation. Detective Boyko Stanchev on the police task force teams up with Ayala Navon, a young Israeli intelligence analyst on her first overseas assignment
The two must establish whether the terrorists were assisted by a Bulgarian crime organization in laying the groundwork for the attack.
It should be a routine investigation, but shadows of the past keep interfering.
Boyko’s interactions with a crime boss pursuing a vendetta against him threaten to throw him off track. Ayala’s pursuit of the terrorists and their accomplices brings up painful memories of a family tragedy.
Boyko and Ayala form a shaky alliance, one that evolves into growing cooperation and affection as they desperately race against time to uncover who was behind the Burgas bombing.
The Burgas Affair is a fictional account of the aftermath of a very real terrorist attack. On July 18, 2012, a deadly explosive rocked a tourist bus at Burgas Airport, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. The terrorists responsible for this murderous attack have never been brought to justice.
I received an advance review copy of this book by the author and gratefully accepted, having tremendously enjoyed his previous work.
This book captures you from the first quick chapter where a woman realises she’ll blow up with a bomb – a harrowing close-up of a victim and a powerful way to introduce the issue of terror attacks and suicide bombers.
Shuman then introduces another layer of the terror attack by showing us two other victims as they prepare for the fatal journey.
Only after having introduced these human elements to the Burgas tragedy does the author switch to the police investigation and the two detectives. But here, also, we’re given two non-stereotypical characters, one from Bulgaria with a complex professional history, and one from Israel, with a more personal history.
In a parallel narrative to that of the investigation we find out more about one detective’s past and begin to suspect that this will have a connection to the terror attack, while the other detective has personal issues to deal with that may interfer with the investigation.
Shuman has put a lot into this novel, there’s plenty of attention to detail and rich layering. The bombing is after all a sensitive subject and the author has handled it with delicacy and care. While the incident is fictionalised, the novel is based on police reports and therefore stays close to what we know.
Shuman stays away from outrageous or sensationalist speculation and keeps a realistic and plausible tone. This level and thoughtful approach, combined with well-chosen characters and backstories really resonated with me. There’s plenty of suspense, tension and action to please thriller fans, but it doesn’t go over the top as so many others do. The detectives aren’t super human and because of this, far more interesting and spellbinding.
Most importantly, the real life Burgas bombing is a to-date unsolved case and I’m grateful that it wasn’t hijacked for an exploitative treatment in the novel, but instead used respectfully as a setting that allows the author to portray the many dimensions of terror attacks.
Having once lived in Bulgaria, Shuman adds a lot of fascinating facts about the country with descriptive detail. This is a very engaging and thought-provoking read, a gripping thriller and a multi-layered read that I would highly recommend.
The Bulgarian version, ‘Бургаската афера’ was released last year. Now, author Ellis Shuman is about to publish the original English version of his novel, entitled ‘The Burgas Affair’.
It is a story which contains some reality: the terrorist attack at Burgas Airport in 2012, during which five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian bus driver were murdered. In ‘The Burgas Affair’, the aftermath of the attack is fictional.
An Israeli data analyst and a Bulgarian detective are tracking down those responsible. The two must establish whether the terrorists were assisted by a Bulgarian crime organization, in laying the groundwork for the attack.
Shadows of the past keep interfering, which is why what was supposed to be a routine investigation turns into a nightmare. The detective’s interactions with a crime boss pursuing a vendetta against him threaten to throw him off track. At the same time, his partner’s pursuit of the terrorists and their accomplices brings up painful memories of a family tragedy.
“The Burgas Affair” in Bulgarian and English.
Boyko and Ayala, the two main characters, form a shaky alliance, one that evolves into growing cooperation and affection as they desperately race against time to uncover who was behind the Burgas bombing.
Ellis Shuman is “the Israeli American who writes about Bulgaria“. Born in Sioux City, Iowa, he moved to a Kibbutz in Israel, where he met his wife Jodie. By now, their children are adults, while the couple lives in Neve Ilan.
For two years, Ellis and Jodie Shuman lived in Bulgaria, a country they learned to love. They still visit Bulgaria on a regular basis.
It is not surprising that Ellis Shuman’s first novel, “Valley of Thracians”, is also set in Bulgaria. It is about a Peace Corps volunteer who has gone missing.
Both “The Burgas Affair” and “Valley of Thracians” are available on Amazon. The new novel can be pre-ordered, before its release on October 30, 2017. The printed Bulgarian version of “The Burgas Affair” is available here or at Ciela bookstores.