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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Caught in Pie Town is a noir mystery novel written by Kevin Urban. FBI Agent Lou Tennent was stunned when the Deputy Director at FBI Headquarters in Newark, Colin Geiger, announced that Tennent would be going to Pie Town, New Mexico to keep an eye on Nikolai Milkovich, otherwise known as the infamous and brutal Milkman. He wasn’t the only one who was surprised. Agent Ron Miles had been to Pie Town before and had been a part of the dealings which gave Milkovich protected status as a confidential informant. There was only one rule that Tennent really had to follow in Pie Town -- an ordinance passed some years before that prevented the authorities from making an arrest when the perp was eating. It made arrests somewhat more problematic than usual. Armed with this knowledge and little else, Tennent picked up the plane tickets and car rental forms that were waiting for him on his desk and set out for his first assignment.
Kevin Urban’s Caught in Pie Town caught my eye as I am one of a growing handful of readers of hiking memoirs who recognized the town as an important stop for hikers on the Continental Divide Trail. As I began reading, however, I noted the contrast between the town’s role as a fast food and comfort stop on a rigorous hike and the sleepy yet tension-filled town that greets Agent Lou Tennent upon his arrival. Urban’s use of the first-person in narrating the story gets the reader up close and personal with Agent Tennent and makes getting involved in Tennent’s careful and methodical stay in town particularly compelling. Urban’s characters are deftly drawn and assume lifelike dimension with ease, and his twisting and deceptively calm plot keeps the reader on their toes. Add in the bizarre and ultimately tragic running of the bulls event that was supposed to finally put Pie Town on the map, and you have a noir crime novel that is grand entertainment. Caught in Pie Town is most highly recommended.