Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Painting by Numbers - Tom Gillespie

About the Book

Title: Painting By Numbers
Author: Tom Gillespie
Publication: Crooked Cat Publishing (September 2012)
Summary: A dark, surreal thriller that follows one man’s relentless pursuit into an old truth buried deep within.

What I Think

Jacob Boyce visits a 17th century allegorical painting every single day in a Glaswegian gallery hoping, with meticulous measurements and careful observation, to unlock its secrets. One day he is convinced that an object in the painting has moved. Giving up his career and neglecting his wife, he is determined to get to the bottom of this ancient mystery. 

"You can live in denial as long as you please, Monsieur Boyce, but the truth is that fakery and lies are at the heart of all things." 

Gillespie weaves a complicated plot of lies, deceit, art and intrigue which takes us on a mad pursuit from Glasgow to Spain. We follow Jacob on this hunt for answers: what is the secret behind the painting? where is his wife Ella? who is the mysterious Jude? And all the time never quite knowing if he is sane, starting to lose the plot or a complete idiot. 

Detailed, clever and clearly well-researched, this is a thoroughly enjoyable book. And whatever you do, don't think you know what's coming next, because you'll never guess! 

About the Author

Tom Gillespie grew up in a small town just outside Glasgow. After completing a Masters in English at Glasgow University, he spent the next ten years pursuing a musical career as a singer/songwriter, playing, recording and touring the UK and Europe with his band. He now lives in Bath with his wife, daughter and hyper-neurotic cat, where he works at the University as an academic English lecturer.

Tom writes long and short fiction. A number of his stories are published by He is also a regular contributor to

He is currently working on a second novel and a collection of short stories.

His critically acclaimed, debut novel Painting by Numbers, a dark, psychological drama that explores the surreal complexities of the human mind, has been selected as FINALIST for The People’s Book Prize.

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