The Burgas Affair by Ellis Shuman

The Burgas Affair In 2012 a suicide bomber got on a bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, killing not only themselves but five Israeli citizens and the Bulgarian bus driver.  A further 32 people were injured in the blast.

The attack was almost immediately linked to Hezbollah, with Israeli security services (Mossad and Shin Bet) arriving in Bulgaria and working with their Bulgarian counterparts to find those responsible.

This is the background to The Burgas Affair a fictionalised account of what might have happened if two officers, one male, one female, one Bulgarian, one Israeli are thrown together to track down the terrorists. 

The man, Boyko, is what I would class as a typical policeman nowadays – he’s divorced, drinks too much, and plays by his own rules.  He’s got secrets that could kill him if they come out.  The woman, Ayala, has her own issues, leading her to close herself off from friends and colleagues.  She also has issues with how Boyko works, causing friction as they travel around Bulgaria chasing down leads.

It makes for an interesting dynamic, one with added tension thanks to a sub-plot involving a local gangster and Boyko’s past.  What I also found interesting is the way the two security services work.  I can’t say for definite but I get the feeling that Ellis Shuman has done a lot of research into his subject before writing.  It feels real and that made me want to know more.  The descriptions of the countries seem real too, not surprising as Shuman has spent time in both countries.

The slight downside of this is there is perhaps too much detail, making the book a little too slow for me.  There were times where I wanted to the pace to pick up and cutting out some of the descriptive passages would have helped with that. The same is true for the characters, I felt that – at times – they were repeating stories as a way of emphasising a point, when once would have been enough for me.

That said, I still found enough here to keep me reading and wanting to know how it was all going to end. I especially liked the sub-plot and that could maybe have been a story in and of itself.  I also liked that, despite this being a male/female partnership their relationship seemed pretty balanced and Ayala wasn’t just there as a romantic interest, which I had feared slightly at the start.  Overall, then a good read – one I would recommend for anyone who likes a spy drama or stories of espionage.


About the book…

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

Source: Author
Publication date: 30th October, 2017
Number of pages: 327
Rating: 3.75 out of 5


Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own. 


  1. I’m in a mini slump right now so I couldn’t go through a repetitive detailed slow book like this one right now! Glad it kept you interested enough to finish it and that it was overall, a good read!


    • No it isn’t for readers who need pace. I know what you mean about a slump. I am struggling with most of my reads.


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