Book Review: The Burgas Affair by Ellis Shuman

My last post was a mix of drama and romance. This next post is pure drama. Your kind of thing? Read on.

The Burgas Affair by Ellis Shuman is set 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.

This book is a fictitious account of the aftermath of a real-life attack which took place on July 18, 2012, when a terrorist’s bomb killed five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver at Burgas Airport. Until MyMacArtur, I never really knew about books that relay their own ideas about how an event happened, what happened afterward, etc. I think it is a very interesting concept and I wasn’t disappointed with Ellis Shuman’s interpretation of the aftermath of this event.

The Burgas Affair is absolutely gripping. There is tension from the very first page and it sucked me right in. However, there are many other elements beyond the terrorist attack story that I enjoyed. One was the parallel story of a crime boss’s vendetta against Boyko. I liked how one story affected the other, however, sometimes the stories were mixed up a bit too much. Nevertheless, it is through the vendetta story that the reader learns more about Boyko. At first, he comes across as the typical cop we often see in these types of books. He is also pretty pig-headed and sex driven. As the pages turn he softens and his hidden personality comes to light and he becomes much more likable.

A likable character from the beginning of is Ayala. She is smart and brave and everything you want in a lead female character. Besides that, I liked how I explored Bulgaria through her eyes. Ayala’s father is Bulgarian so she has always had an interest in the country. When she is finally able to visit there and her investigation leads her to many different places, the reader is offered wonderful descriptive scenes of the area. It was interesting to learn more about a country I know very little about; the same with the scenes set in Tel Aviv although they were more about Israeli culture rather than the landscape.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Burgas Affair. I was always eager to pick it up and find out what happens next – always a good sign!

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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