Author: Ellis Shuman
Title: The Burgas Affair
Genre: Mystery | Thriller | Suspense
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Pages: 327 pages
Release Date: October 30, 2017
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Blurb: 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.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
To be frank, I was a little wary of this book at first. I thought this might be just another spy/investigative books where the female lead is nothing more than an accessory and the male protagonist is a worn out James Bond, but as I read, I realized this story, while committing a few cliches, made up for it with action and suspense.
What I liked: Firstly, two major point winners for me was 1) The Burgas Affair is a work of fiction based on an actual event that took place in 2012 in which a bus exploded, killing seven and injuring thirty-two 2) It’s one of the few books I’ve ever read that is set in Bulgaria. Shuman manages to write vividly of Bulgaria, bringing it to life straight from the pages and I found myself sucked into the story, my senses aware of every detail fed to me.
The plot was fast paced, keeping me at the edge of my seat, and I appreciated the tension, which was palpable and maintained my interest in finding out who was responsible for the bombing. In my opinion, story had a consistent and realistic plot and his world-building was rather exception. I felt as if I was in Bulgaria, as if I were seeing and touching it. I really enjoyed the intrinsic descriptions and the nonstop action from the first page to the last.
What I wasn’t crazy about: It was really hard to find points I didn’t like about The Burgas Affair. I had to sit back and mull over it for a few days. First, I felt the “show versus tell” of the book was broken and uneven, at times. Honestly, this is so hard for authors to get right and even if they nail it perfectly, it doesn’t guarantee readers will care – or even notice.
I did, which is why it’s a detail I’m not too crazy about. I felt there were other ways information could be revealed other than the narrator telling me rather than showing. I’m not a huge fan of elaborate telling. Personally, I feel this could have been avoided by embedded breadcrumbs of detail within dialogue. There’s a point when too much tell and not enough show starts to feel more like lecturing to me.
The only other element I didn’t like as much as I had hoped is Boyko. As a main character, I didn’t particularly find him likable. I much preferred Ayala, whom I felt wasn’t as cliched or stereotypical as Boyko, who is essentially a worn down work-obsessed investigator with a drinking problem and a preference for paid encounter. In my opinion, this overused personality lacked dimension or depth and I found myself actually against him, rather than rooting for him.
Overall, while there were a few elements I was disappointed in, I found The Burgas Affair thrilling and the mystery of the bomb in an unfamiliar place was enough to keep me from putting the book down. If you’re a fan of thriller, mystery, or suspense novels, this one is definitely for you.
Want to know more about The Burgas Affair or author Ellis Shuman? Look no further: