First off, there are just WAY too many characters. You know it's going to be hard to keep track of everybody when the author includes a character list at the beginning of the book. I had to refer back to this list numerous times while reading the book.
Second, I know that this is a book about spies (and former spies), but everything was just a little too coded for me. I needed to know more information while reading so that I could at least follow along with what the heck was going on. For much of the book all I knew was that someone had died and it had to do with a mysterious British government person, someone or something named Bendo, and Berlin. Seriously, these characters would only say the word "Berlin" and then I was just supposed to go along with it without having any idea what was happening in Berlin. I didn't find out the significance of Berlin until the end of the book!
Third, unlike most spy novels, there was pretty much no action in this book. And this is categorized as a spy THRILLER, but there was nothing thrilling about it! Nobody was running around and getting shot at or fighting or driving fast cars. It seemed like a lot of dialogue, one guy traveling to Scotland to hang out with his two brothers, and a few secret meetings between a couple guys. And then BAM! Mystery solved. The end.
I guess I just wanted a little less talking, especially if it wasn't going to help me understand the plot anyway, and a little more action.
The Madness of July is published by The Overlook Press and is available to purchase now. I received a free advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.