BDN film critic makes Amazon best-seller list

Posted Oct. 19, 2010, at 1:52 p.m.

The e-book “Fifth Avenue” by Christopher Smith, Bangor Daily News film critic, became an Amazon.com best-seller on Monday night — just five days after first being published on the site.

Thousands of copies of what is Smith’s first novel have been sold, but he would prefer to keep the exact tally private.

The trade paperback will be released by Oct. 31.

In the thriller, “Fifth Avenue,” a feud between two self-made billionaires who have made their mark on Fifth Avenue takes a society by storm. New York City is thrown into turmoil when one man sets out to destroy another for murdering his wife 31 years before.

“He sets into play a series of events to take down the family and friends around him,” Smith said. “It’s a story about revenge.”

Family and the involvement of the mob complicate the not so black-and-white battle between men.

The action-packed story is strongly influenced by Smith’s experience as a film critic for the Bangor Daily News for 14 years. He has written more than 4,000 reviews and recently was named Best Critic for 2010 by the Maine Press Association.

Smith also was a critic for NBC television affiliates in Bangor and Portland for eight years and nationally on E! Network for two years.

“The book is very cinematic and visual,” Smith said. “What’s interesting is that readers are saying the same thing, which is really nice to hear.”

He designed the book to be a brisk read. Readers from as far as Australia and the UK have told him that “they really appreciate that it’s such a fast read and really liked the characters and story,” said Smith.

The novel’s instant success surprised Smith.

When he spotted an e-mail from Amazon.com last night, he figured it was about the release of the book in paperback. Instead, it told him that he was an Amazon.com best-seller. He visited the website and said, “I can’t believe it.”

“I never expected it,” he said. “But I’m really happy.”

To be an Amazon.com best-seller, a book has to be one of the top 100 books sold out of 2 million. Smith said he’s number 13 in Amazon.com mysteries and number 20 in suspense.

“Being a critic for so many years, when the focus is shifted on you, it’s strange,” Smith said.

The e-book is available for $0.99 on www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.kobobooks.com and ibooks.com. In addition to “Fifth Avenue,” Smith has published two previous e-books in his Netflix “Queued” series, which are compilations of hundreds of his film reviews. They also are available at www.amazon.com.

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