Read Fifth Ave 01 - Fifth Avenue Online

Authors: Christopher Smith

Fifth Ave 01 - Fifth Avenue

BOOK: Fifth Ave 01 - Fifth Avenue











Fifth Avenue


A novel by


Christopher Smith









For my father, Ross Smith, for always pushing and never giving up.



For my mother, Ann Smith, for her enthusiastic support.



And for Constance Hunting, who edited this book over the course of many years but who didn't live to see its publication.
This is our book.
I thank you and I miss you.



Copyright and Legal Notice:
This publication is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws, and all rights are reserved, including resale rights.


Any trademarks, service marks, product names or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if we use one of these terms.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the author.


First ebook edition © 2010.

Excerpt from "Running of the Bulls" © 2010.


Cover design by Kathlyn Tenga-Gonzalez of Quantum Corral.


For all permissions, please contact the author at
[email protected]




This is a work of fiction.
Any similarity to persons living or dead (unless explicitly noted) is merely coincidental.
Copyright © 2010 Christopher Smith.
All rights reserved worldwide.




For their help with this book, the author is particularly grateful to Erich Kaiser and Sanford Phippen; to Roslyn Targ; to Ted Adams; to Deborah Rogers, Paul Ersing and Faith Benedetti; to Kathlyn Tenga-Gonzalez; and to those men and women who introduced the author to the real Fifth Avenue while he researched this book; and to friends old and new, all of whom either helped to shape this book or who offered support as it was written.

















New York City


The bombs, placed high above Fifth Avenue on the roof of The Redman International Building, would explode in five minutes.

Now, with its mirrored walls of glass reflecting Fifth Avenue’s thick, late-morning traffic, the building itself seemed alive with movement.

On scaffolding at the building’s middle, men and women were hanging the enormous red velvet ribbon that would soon cover sixteen of Redman International’s seventy-nine stories.
High above on the roof, a lighting crew was moving ten spotlights into position.
And inside, fifty skilled decorators were turning the lobby into a festive ballroom.

Celina Redman, who was in charge of organizing the event, stood before the building with her arms crossed.
Streams of people were brushing past her on the sidewalk, some glancing up at the red ribbon, others stopping to glance in surprise at her.
She tried to ignore them, tried to focus on her work and become one with the crowd, but it was difficult.
Just that morning, her face and this building had been on the cover of every major paper in New York.

She admired the building before her.

Located on the corner of Fifth and 49th Street, The Redman International Building was the product of thirty-one years of her father’s life.
Founded when George Redman was twenty-six, Redman International was among the world’s leading conglomerates.
It included a commercial airline, office and condominium complexes, textile and steel mills and, soon, WestTex Incorporated--one of the country’s largest shipping corporations.
With this building on Fifth Avenue, all that stood in George Redman’s way was the future.
And by all appearances, it was as bright as the diamonds Celina had chosen to wear later that evening.

“The spotlights are ready, Miss Redman.”

Celina turned and faced a member of the lighting crew.
Later that evening, the spotlights would illuminate the red ribbon.
“Let’s try them out.”

The man reached for the cell phone clipped to his belt.
While he gave the men on the roof the go-ahead, Celina looked down at the list on her clipboard and wondered again how she would get everything done in time for the party.

But she would.
All her life she had been trained by her father to work under pressure.
Today was just another challenge.

Hal nodded at her.
“Should be any time now,” he said.

Celina tucked the clipboard beneath her arm and looked up at the roof.
She was thinking that, at this distance, she would never see if they worked when a switch was flipped and three of the ten spotlights exploded into flames.

For a moment, she couldn’t move.

Thousands of shards of jagged glass were hurtling toward her, glinting in the sun.

She could see a great cloud of black smoke billowing on top of the building.

There was fire--roaring, twisting toward the sky.

And there was one of the spotlights, flipping through the air, rushing toward her and the ground.

She felt a hand on her arm and was pulled to safety just as the spotlight whooshed past her and slammed onto the sidewalk, where it cracked the cement and burst into a shower of fiery red sparks.
For a moment, everything went silent--and then the glass began to hit in a deafening cascade of sound.

She was pressed against the building, frozen in fear as she watched traffic on Fifth veer right, away from the fallen spotlight, and snarl to a halt.
Suddenly, there was nothing but the squeal of metal crushing metal, the shrilling of car horns and the frightened cries of passersby, some of whom had been cut from the falling glass.

Stunned, Celina looked at Hal.
He was in the street, looking up at the roof, shouting something into his cell phone.
His face was flushed.
The cords stood out on his neck.
There was so much noise, Celina couldn’t hear what he was saying.
She took a tentative step forward, toward the crushed spotlight, and knew exactly what he was saying--the men on the roof were hurt.

She hurried into the lobby, shot past the waterfall and stepped into her father’s private elevator.

The building was too tall.
The elevator was too slow.
No matter how quickly she raced to the top, it wasn’t fast enough.

Finally, the doors opened and she stepped onto the roof.

People were running and shouting and pushing.
Some stood motionless in fear and disbelief.
Those who had been standing near the spotlights when they exploded were either silent with shock, or crying in pain from the burns that ravaged their bodies.

She moved forward and nearly was run into by someone rushing for help.
She watched the man pass, her lips parting when she realized he had no hair.
It had been burned off.

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