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The Shark Party – this year’s must-have holiday read

26 November 2014

The Shark Party – this year’s must-have holiday read

“. . . an engaging, evocative page-turner of a debut, written in Wellington with an eye on a much larger world.”

Tom Goulter for Fish Head (December Issue)

When Wellington-based author Janet Colson launched her debut novel, The Shark Party, earlier this month at the Adam Art Gallery, it came highly recommended by award-winning author, Mandy Hager. Early signs are that readers can’t put it down.

Taking its title from UK contemporary artist Damien Hirst’s shark floating in a tank of formaldehyde, The Shark Party is a fast-paced psychological drama that centres on Carla, the partner of a wealthy art collector, who soon discovers both her world and her relationship are not what they seem. The novel delivers everything writer and Viva editor Michal McKay tells us about it on the cover:

“With its sharp sentences and luscious language, this seductive thriller is a rich and compelling read.”

The Shark Party is a story told confidently from a woman’s point of view, though not just for women. As Colson leads the reader through the glittering New York artworld to Cape Cod, the clever plot combines financial intrigue, domestic abuse, family drama, Greenpeace and heart-warming attention to dogs. With a love story at its centre, the novel’s characters are involving, and the dialogue is a stand out, as Colson has a theatre background.

And, like all the books from independent publishing house Escalator Press, The Shark Party is well written and gripping. Tom Goulter states:

“Carla dazzles with lush, obsessively-visual descriptions of the New York high life to rival Bret Easton Ellis. As she’s broken down and builds herself back up again, these open up into a more varied sensory palette, as the character rediscovers sound, music, taste, touch.”

Colson says she wrote The Shark Party with the reader’s enjoyment in mind, “One reader told me she was rationing herself to ten pages per night. She wanted to stay in the world of the novel for as long as possible.”

Before moving to New Zealand, Colson was one of the UK’s major gift fund-raisers working with wealthy British, American and Russian philanthropists. In the course of her work, the parties she orchestrated entertained royalty, including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, political figures such as Vladimir Putin, and the social elite. During her time in the UK, Colson raised over £30 million for various organisations.

Colson has an MA with Distinction in English and American Literature from King’s College, London, where she acted in numerous student productions, taking leading roles to the Edinburgh Fringe.

In New Zealand, Colson works as a fund-raising consultant and has worked with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Auckland Theatre Company and DANZ. She is currently working at Victoria University of Wellington.

Escalator Press is a Wellington-based publishing house. Other titles include new release, Kate Carty’s Run, Thomas, Run, and 2013 success, The Score by Adrienne Jansen.

More information about The Shark Party and Janet Colson are available on the www.escalatorpress.co.nz
Book title The Shark Party
Author name Janet Colson
RRP $30
Publisher Escalator Press
Place of publication Wellington
Date of publication 11 November 2014
ISBN 978-0-473-29514-1


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