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Lies That Bind - Wins Bay Area Independent Publishers Book Award


​It took Napa author Craig Smith ten years to write his first novel, but it only took entering one contest to win an award. The Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) awarded Lies That Bind – How Do You Arrest Someone Who Doesn’t Exist? the 2019 Runner up award for Best Fiction. “Almost two dozen authors submitted books for an award, so yeah, it feels pretty good,” said Smith. “I’ve been working on a second mystery and started to run out of steam,” he added. “This definitely has me psyched to keep writing.”

In his Napa-based mystery, Smith weaves two real life incidents together: an identity theft crime involving a real estate transaction and a financial indiscretion on the part of a Catholic priest. “I heard about an identity theft crime from David West, who owned Napa Title. He told me how a guy stole an identity, then used it to ‘borrow’ against property he didn’t own. I thought up something similar and had lunch with (then) Police Chief Dan Monez, to see if the idea I dreamed up could really work. He said it could.” Smith was encouraged, but wasn’t sure he had enough for a full novel. “Then Dan told me about an incident that happened to him at his church, when the bishop looked him straight in the eye and lied to him. Dan was so angry that he left that church and never went back. He told me if I could use that, I should.” Smith paused and looked away for a moment. “As he was telling me about it, I could see how the two crimes could be woven together, and I knew I had my book.” ​

Shortly after the book came out, Sasha Paulson of the Napa Valley Register reviewed it, calling it “original, unpredictable, lively and fresh – and it unfolds in a Napa visitors may never see, but those of us who live here, know well.” That accolade means as much to Smith as the BAIPA award. “Sasha said authors give her novels all the time that are set in Napa, and most of them are pretty bad. She was pleased to read one she really liked,” he said with obvious pride.

​Smith, a resident of Napa, has been a columnist at the Napa Valley Register for over twenty years and is also a regular contributor to the Napa Valley Marketplace. Napa Bookmine, who hosted Smith for a reading in 2018, is doing so again. Smith will read at the Napa Public Library on Wednesday, June 5th at 7:00 p.m. The public is invited. Admission is free. Lies that Bind will be available there, and is also in Napa bookstores and anywhere you shop online in book and audio format.

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