** FINALIST, THE PEOPLE'S BOOK PRIZE, 2013 **
PAINTING BY NUMBERS is a dark, surreal PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER that follows one man’s relentless pursuit of a truth buried deep within.
Day after day, earth scientist Jacob Boyce returns to a 17th century painting which hangs in a Scottish art gallery. By using a series of measurements and calculations, he attempts to decipher a strange mathematical code locked into its canvas.
But as more of the painting’s hidden SECRETS are revealed, his life spirals into chaos, and his world is turned upside down.
The object of his obsession has begun to move.
Painting by Numbers by Tom Gillespie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This is a fantastic psychological thriller! I loved it! Unfortunately, due to my rather large reading list, it has taken me a while to get to read it. I am really kicking myself for not reading it sooner!
Jacob Boyce is an interesting character. He is an earth scientist, who has become obsessed with a hidden code in a painting hanging in the Glasgow museum. I liked this character a lot. I found his journey quite interesting, but disturbing at the same time.
I love a good psychological thriller, so when I was offered this book I jumped at the chance to read it. This story captured me from the first page and I struggled to put it down. I admit that this story reminded me slightly of Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code", and it pays a slight homage to it. However, the only similarity is the supposedly mathematical code that is hidden in the painting. This code may help explain earthly seismological events, and Jacob Boyce is determined to crack the code. There are a few interesting twists and turns in this story that kept me on the edge of my seat. The story is set in Glasgow, but travels to Spain and then back again. The theory that pictures have hidden codes in them is exciting and disturbing at the same time. Granted, paintings are a great visual record of the world around us, or a weird and wonderful journey into the mind of the artist, but they were the first written language (see cave paintings) and, as such, can carry subliminal messages. People, unfortunately, can also see messages in paintings where there are none; sometimes, a painting is just a painting. Nevertheless, watching and travelling with Jacob on his journey, made me wonder if there is something in our subconscious mind that does "see" codes in everything we interact with on a daily basis. However, our conscious mind has learnt to disregard these codes, and it is only when our subconscious mind overrides it, do we spiral into obsession, depression and paranoia. This story is a visual feast of it's own. The author describes the scenes in such a way that I could picture them with ease. I enjoyed the bus ride scene in Madrid. It was quite entertaining in a scary way. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to been on the bus for real, but then again, I think Jacob didn't want to be there either. I was a little disappointed with the ending, but it gave me a deeper understanding of why things happened the way they did. Other readers may or may not agree with me. However, I leave it up to you to make up your own minds.
To say that this is Tom Gillespie's debut novel, he has written a fantastically dark and suspenseful thriller that delves into man's deepest psyche, and it feels like he's been writing for years. I love his writing style, which was fast paced without being rushed, and the flow was wonderful. I am looking forward to reading more books by this author in the future.
I highly recommend this book if you love Psychological Thrillers, Suspense, Mystery or Horror genres. - Lynn Worton
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