Author: Ellis Shuman

Released: October 30, 2017

Genre: Thriller, Terrorism, Crime, Action

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.

Ellis Shuman was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and immigrated to Israel as a teenager. He completed high school in Jerusalem and served for three years in the Israeli army’s Nahal branch. Along with his wife, Jodie, he was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel in the Arava Valley in Israel’s south. On the kibbutz he worked in agriculture, industry, tourism, the dairy barn, and served as the kibbutz’s general secretary.

After moving with his wife and three young children to Moshav Neve Ilan in the Judean Hills, Ellis received formal training in the hotel industry. He worked in a variety of positions at the Neve Ilan Hotel and later was Food and Beverage Controller at the Jerusalem Hilton. He served as the moshav’s general secretary during a period in which the community underwent major social changes.

As a hobby, Ellis began writing on the Internet. He wrote extensively about life in Israel in his position as the Israeli Culture Guide at About.com. He designed and maintained websites for the Neve Ilan Hotel and for Indic–Independent Israeli Cinema. For two years he was webmaster for Yazam, an international financial firm that provided support for technological start-ups.

Ellis served for three years as Editor in Chief of Israel Insider, an online daily newsmagazine that developed new technologies as it posted the latest news and views, from and about Israel.

Starting in 2004, Ellis began working in a marketing company servicing the online gaming industry. In the years 2009 – 2010, his job was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria. During those years, Ellis and Jodie traveled extensively in Bulgaria as well as in the countries of the region. Today Ellis continues working in the online gaming industry in Tel Aviv.

 

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Ayala thought again of Boyko’s words. We can only do what we can do. No, she couldn’t allow their efforts to fall short. They had to close all the loose ends. She had been to Plovdiv, and to Ruse. She would go wherever the case took her. Back to the Turkish border where she had nearly lost her life if that was required. She would do whatever was necessary to contribute to the investigation, to find and capture the terrorists responsible for the horrific attack at the airport. “We won’t fail, Boaz. We can’t allow that to happen,” she said as Boaz’s taxi arrived. As he got in the back seat, she repeated his words, “Failure is not an option.”

Living in the United States, terrorism has affected our lives in the past, but some of us may never know the fear that other countries face from a constant barrage of attacks. There is a sense of foreboding that always comes with looking over your shoulder and wondering who or where the next attack will be. Will it be you? Will it be the building that you happen to be in at the exact moment of an attack? Will it be your loved ones? Suicide bombers have always been difficult to understand, but Shuman really gets into the emotional side of those who are affected. The Burgas Affair, while being a work of fiction, is based on a true historical event. What has happened cannot be changed, but we are always evolving around the horrors that befall ours and surrounding countries.

The Bulgarian Police Force is called in when a bus full of Israeli passengers goes up in flames. What at first appears to be the work of a suicide bomber, acting on orders from a terrorist organization against Israel, quickly turns into a manhunt for the bomber’s assailants and any link to Hezbollah. Israeli units are ushered in to work with the Bulgarians and together, Boyko and Ayala are paired among others to investigate. At first, Boyko is against the notion of this being the work of Hezbollah, so they end up going on a wild goose chase–but trouble ends up finding them no matter where they go. After bullets rain down on them in their hotel room, Boyko is forced to inform Ayala of the danger that she is in with him being her partner due to past transgressions that may or may not be linked to the current case. With little faith that the case will be solved, every day seeming to drive them further away, Boyko and Ayala must remain vigilant and learn to trust each other if they expect to get out of this one alive.

Shuman brings two characters with differing backgrounds into a crime investigation for a common goal, to solve the case and keep the civility among their people. His characters are exceptional, with many faults and likable qualities as well. The pace is steady and the story is action-packed, making it easy to get wrapped up in. While there are a few grammatical errors here and there, this should not hinder enjoyment of the novel at all. The author does inform the reader that the characters are purely fiction; however, the story is based on a true event. Terrorism is an ever evolving threat to many countries and the information conveyed in this story is quite credible. Readers will achieve a clear understanding of the strength that many have in the face of fear and we will say that it is a story worth reading. For any who tend to lean toward thrillers and crime, this one may be of interest to you.

A paperback was provided to Turning Another Page by the author and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a four-star rating for The Burgas Affair by Ellis Shuman.