Start reading Painting By Numbers on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Painting By Numbers

Painting By Numbers [Kindle Edition]

Tom Gillespie
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
Kindle Price: £2.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £5.00 (63%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £2.99  
Paperback £5.98  
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: Up to 70% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.

Product Description

Product Description


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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 525 KB
  • Print Length: 332 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing (29 Nov 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00955ZMCM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #99,229 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More 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. His stories have been published in a number of anthologies, magazines and e-zines, including Amazon Bestseller FEAR: A Modern Anthology Of Horror And Terror - Volume 2, Emdash Literary Magazine, and He is also a regular contributor to

Tom's writing has been described as terse, minimalist, hyper- realistic and ambiguous, where layers of meaning are conveyed using a concise and economical style.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and challenging 1 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent thriller that keeps you guessing all the way, 'Painting By Numbers' is a real page-turner, with very believable characters and realistic settings. That said, some of the episodes verge on the surreal as the narrative takes the reader on a trip through landscapes ambiguously real and dream-like, becoming an exploration of 'inner-space'.

Unlike Dan Brown's novels, with which this has been compared, 'Painting By Numbers' never insults the intelligence of its readers and the characters are far more complex and sympathetic. Gillespie creates memorable settings and uses psychological drama to keep the reader challenged and intrigued. The author also demonstrates insight into the human condition as well as the complications of relationships.

Do yourself a favour and read 'Painting By Numbers'. It's thoroughly enjoyable and keeps you thinking all the way, with its playful twists and turns. Once you've finished you'll want to go back and piece it all together again.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird but good! 30 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
To start off with, I need to say. This is a weird book. Now, that may sound like a criticism, but it's really not. I like weird books.

So, you might be asking yourselves, why did I feel the need to mention this? Well, I was expecting a psychological thriller - and I certainly got one of those. What I wasn't expecting was that it would be so... well... weird.

The book opens in Glasgow where our protagonist, Jacob Boyce has become so obsessed with trying to understand the nuances of a particular painting that he is in danger of loosing both his job as an academic and his wife.

His attempts to understand the picture include quite a lot of convincing mathematics (which I suspect is bogus, but it's a testament to Gillespie's research and writing that it seems to make sense, at least as much as anything does in this book) which is actually something I found hugely appealing. As strange lights start to emerge from the canvas, and the figures depicted within start to move, the grounding nature of the maths gives is a solid reality. And I've always been a bit of a science nerd, so it pushes those buttons for me too.

At about a third of the way through, the book changes location to Spain, and most of the book plays out here. I don't want to go into the plot too much, as I don't want to give anything away, but what started as one man's obsession over a painting becomes a kind of demented road-trip, where things get stranger and stranger.

There are, I think, a couple of mis-steps in the book. The comedy interludes in particular - from a police inspector and a bus driver - seem to have been dropped in, and jar somewhat with the overall tone as you read them. But as the book turns more and more weird, even they seem in retrospect to be completely normal.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and very, very different 24 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
How to describe Painting by Numbers, the debut novel by Scottish author Tom Gillespie? It has elements of a thriller, aspects of suspense, it's psychologically intriguing, but, in truth, it defies classification.

Jacob Boyce, the central character, is a university professor obsessed by an obscure Spanish painting in a Glasgow art gallery. He is convinced he can decipher clues within the picture and cannot bear to spend a moment away from it. This leads to conflict within his marriage and the loss of his tenure at the university. So far, so normal.

However, when his wife disappears Jacob follows Ella's trail to Spain, where his search for her becomes mysteriously entangled with his quest to uncover the painting's secrets. From this point onwards readers are taken on a rollercoaster ride the like of which they are unlikely to have travelled in any other book. This is not a book for the hard of thinking and requires no small amount of concentration to follow its complex and intriguing plot, but the effort is well rewarded when the finale is reached.

The ending is simply stunning and I want to read the novel again to see if the clues were obvious, if only I had known what to look for.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisite thriller 9 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This novel has a fascinating central character, Jacob. He is very interesting to read and "get to know".

The story is very well crafted and paced just right to keep you turning the pages right through.

This is a stunning literary debut and I am keen to read more by this author.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great literary thriller 7 Sep 2012
By Nicki J
Format:Kindle Edition
This was a story that caught my attention right from the start and held it till the end. Jacob is a fascinating and well-drawn character and I felt deeply involved with his story as he tried to unravel the mystery of the painting and began a chase across Europe.

The pacing in this book was skilfully managed and Gillespie really captures the reader's excitement as the action cranks up a notch. I must say that the ending was suspenseful - I really didn't see it coming at all. The sudden change was a little confusing at first, but then it clicks and you realise what is going on.

This is a great literary thriller that will keep you guessing right to the last page.

I received a review copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I had the pleasure of reading this book as a beta reader a while ago. It's a tale about the character Jacob who is consumed by his obsession with a particular painting, and the need to fathom what he feels are the enigmas and codes buried within its canvas.

This novel gives you intrigue, coupled with mystery and a touch of the surreal, not to mention a surprise ending. As you read you find yourself becoming totally absorbed in Jacob's story as it captures you within its page turning momentum. It's a book you will find you cannot put down and I thoroughly recommend it.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Weirdly compelling
This is probably the weirdest book I have ever read. But it was strangely compelling. Other reviews have précised the storyline so I won't. Read more
Published 5 months ago by S. Farnaby
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Psychological Thriller!
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! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lynn Worton
2.0 out of 5 stars Gave me a weird feeling
I tried so hard to like this book but only got halfway through it and skimmed to the end. It had a nightmarish quality which I found unpleasant and reading it was like wading... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Artist
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping storytelling....
This is a deft, thoughtful, sombre thriller that takes the reader on a complex journey. Every time you think you have a handle on the plot, it will spin you around and point you in... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Carol Maginn
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Psychological Thriller
Painting by Numbers is a highly unusual and intriguing psychological thriller with a surreal twist. At first, I wasn't sure what to make of the central character Jacob and his... Read more
Published 14 months ago by The Reader Review
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
Sadly I couldn't finish this book. Couldn't get into it and gave up as I wasn't enjoying it . .
Published 15 months ago by Vwemma
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
A fascinating portrayal of a man with an obsession who is slowly falling to pieces. Hard going at times and the ending I felt was disappointing, but that's just a personal view. Read more
Published 15 months ago by P. J. Ruffell
4.0 out of 5 stars Bravura storytelling
This isn't a thriller, but it is a psychological suspense page-turner of great merit.

On the surface, I can see why some people might liken it to Dan Brown's oeuvre -... Read more
Published 16 months ago by R. Nicholson-morton
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever and fascinating novel
Well this is very clever - beautifully written, complex and unique. The story unfolds with one man's obsession over a painting, which appears to move and change. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Liz Nixon
4.0 out of 5 stars Painting by Numbers
I have read two parts of this book and am starting part three. So far, I have liked the storty, especially part one, though I did not understan d all the theory. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Evelyn S
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category