Tuesday, April 14, 2020

A Somewhat Unconventional Thriller

Valley of Thracians: A Novel of Bulgaria by Ellis Shuman is a somewhat unconventional thriller. Set in Bulgaria, it’s also part travelogue, and the “hero” is an elderly gentleman with a limp. Not your typical “noir” setting or private “I”! But that doesn’t make it any less suspenseful. From page one, I was hooked!

Shuman describes the cities and culture of Bulgaria with vivid detail– I wish I could describe settings that well! His main characters are fascinating and believable — a grandfather in search of his grandson who went missing after joining the Peace Corps and is presumed dead, and a mysterious female friend the grandfather meets in Bulgaria, who seems to good-naturedly want to help him. But does she have something to hide?

I loved that Shuman kept me waiting for the answers to all the questions that kept popping up — in perfect suspense fashion! And I enjoyed learning about Bulgaria and the ancient Thracian culture — it was never dry or dull, and the story pulled me along until the very end!

My advice — don’t read the book description on Amazon. I just saw it for the first time today and was so relieved that I didn’t read it before beginning Valley of Thracians. In my opinion, the book is much more suspenseful WITHOUT knowing some crucial details about what happened to the grandson. Personally, I love not knowing what’s going on in a book — that’s what keeps me reading, to solve the mystery!

Anyway, check out Valley of Thracians — it’s written for adults, but it would be appropriate for teens, as well as voracious younger readers!

Read the full review from June 2014 on Southern Bend Books.

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