The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce
By Tom Gillespie
Rated: 5 stars *****
The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce is an emotional, exquisitely written book set between Glasgow and Spain. I give thanks to Love Books Group and John Gillespie for providing an e-book copy of the book.
See below for the blurb and my review and a buy link as well as social media links.
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 English lecturer. Tom writes long and short stories. His stories have appeared in many magazines, journals and e-zines. He is co-author of Glass Work Humans-an anthology of stories and poems, published by Valley Press.
A spiralling obsession. A missing wife. A terrifying secret.
Will he find her before it’s too late?
When Dr Jacob Boyce’s wife goes missing, the police put it down to a simple marital dispute. Jacob, however, fears something darker. Following her trail to Spain, he becomes convinced that Ella’s disappearance is tied to a mysterious painting whose hidden geometric and numerical riddles he’s been obsessively trying to solve for months. Obscure, hallucinogenic clues, and bizarre, larger-than-life characters, guide an increasingly unhinged Jacob through a nightmarish Spanish landscape to an art forger’s studio in Madrid, where he comes face-to-face with a centuries-old horror, and the terrifying, mind-bending, truth about his wife.
The writing is emotional and yet exquisitely descriptively written.
There is excellent descriptive writing within this book and plot and subplot that keeps you reading.
The plot sets out the complexities of the art world and life and sometimes not all is as it first appears. It intertwines Jacob’s life and his love of art and research as he tries to discover the hidden truth of a painting. Married to Ella, who later goes missing, he also has that mystery to solve. It’s a world that has been created that builds and builds as it goes along, right to the very end.
Set between Scotland and Spain, readers will first meet Jacob at the City Gallery in Glasgow, Scotland, taking notes, a regular place for him to be. He is there so often that the staff are very aware of his presence. The writing is as intense as his concentration on the beautiful painting. Certainly if art interests you, this book will. I like art and appreciate it. This is no ordinary painting or research that Jacob is doing. He is convinced there is a mystery behind it, that all may not be quite as it seems and he is determined to find out what it is.
He lives in a flat with Ella and his cat. It’s not exactly a cosy relationship with rows of not seeing enough of each other and if one is having an affair or not, but through all that there are the most genuinely touching parts of some togetherness, showing how complex relationships can be.
It feels a lot of research has been done and is cleverly weaved with a fictional story that brings intrigue also about Jacob, who teaches Earth Sciences at the university.
There is a hum over the area of the city that frustrates and irates the residents, except Jacob. What he feels is different and puts readers right there in his shoes. You can almost see and feel what Jacob does, especially in a dream sequence. It will draw any reader in closer towards him.
Part two takes readers to La Reina de Los Gatos, Spain, an old place, untouched by mass tourism, where the hunt for Ella is on. It certainly gets intriguing as people say they’ve seen her but don’t know what happened after. The mystery of the art isn’t however forgotten and takes a turn into Franco’s time and the Spanish Civil War, which also makes for a fascinating read. The flow of the book is excellent as Jacob digs deeper into finding out more about the painting.
There are then further twists and turns to this tale, not just for the art, but within life itself.
This is a book I highly recommend, especially for art-lovers and mystery lovers and for people who would like a really good, interesting and intriguing read.
Buy Link https://amzn.to/2zspp0N