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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zigal gives us a fun 5-star read.
Like most readers who find read an author and love his or her work, I go back and try to find other books that are in print. Thomas Zigal's new release, Pariah, was so enjoyable that it sent me to the stack at my local library. There I found Hardrock Stiff, the second in the Kurt Muller mystery series, also set is Aspen.

I'm happy to report that I enjoyed...
Published on June 30, 2008 by Armchair Interviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hackneyed and predictable
This is the second of the three Kurt Muller novels, and I almost abandoned it half way through. The characters and plotting are wearisome and not interesting or engaging. While not exactly a polemic, the author's bias is loud and clear: greens, ultra-libs, and their ilk are the good guys, and business, the FBI, and the military are the bad guys. If your predilections...
Published 9 months ago by Stretch65


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zigal gives us a fun 5-star read., June 30, 2008
By 
Like most readers who find read an author and love his or her work, I go back and try to find other books that are in print. Thomas Zigal's new release, Pariah, was so enjoyable that it sent me to the stack at my local library. There I found Hardrock Stiff, the second in the Kurt Muller mystery series, also set is Aspen.

I'm happy to report that I enjoyed Hardrock Stiff about ninety-nine percent as much as I enjoyed Pariah. Hardrock Stiff didn't have the suggestion of a ghost, but that didn't deter from the story.

In this episode, Kurt has six weeks left on his R&R and must decide if he wants to return as the Pitkin County Sheriff. He really doesn't have much choice when after receiving a midnight phone call from one of the old miners in the area. Kurt drives out to the mine to follow up with Ned Carr, and arrives just in time for Ned to be blown to bits. Was it an accident? Or was it murder?

Ned's contemporaries think it was probably an accident, but Kurt knows better. After all, Ned wouldn't leave behind his six-year-old orphaned grandson, Hunter. And although he's not officially on the sheriff's force, Kurt begins to use all his police skills to investigate his friend's death.

The rest of the story is an action-packed read from beginning to end. So many people are trying to claim ownership's to Ned's mines that it gets a little confusing, but Zigal does a great job in sorting it all out and keeping you up to speed.

From Aspen to Colorado Springs to Las Vegas, Kurt's sole occupation is to find out who killed Ned Carr. And there are many suspects, including his childhood friend Katrina Pfiel. A tad bit of romance helps to spice up this quick, fun read.

Armchair Interviews says: Hardrock Stiff is definitely a must-have beach read for the Summer of `08.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mine is a terrible thing to waste..., March 28, 2012
This review is from: Hardrock Stiff (A Kurt Muller Mystery Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Hardrock Stiff by Thomas Zigal presents Pitkin County Sheriff Kurt Muller in the investigation of the murder of Ned Carr who died in a mine explosion in beautiful Aspen Colorado. What begins as a routine homicide query soon morphs into a much bigger and badder scenario involving environmentalists and their evil nemesis, the Free West Rebellion. Fronted by a nefarious lawyer and VIProtex, a security company, the FWB want an end to environmental regulation in the West. This lofty conflict aside, Muller suspects a baser motivation for Carr's death and soon finds that his mine is valuable and coveted by others who will kill to achieve their goal. In harm's way are Muller's son Lennon and Carr's grandson Hunter, the heir to the mine. The environmentalists in this story are led by Kat Pfiel, a noted tree-hugger and romantic interest of Muller. Another character central to this tale is Muller's ex-wife who reconnects him to his free-spirit past and stirs his Fatherly angst.

Having worked in Colorado over many years, I looked forward to a good mystery set in the truly grand Rockies and Hardrock Stiff filled the bill with only minor drawbacks related to story length and complexity. Returns to previous pages were often necessary to connect the storyline and the plethora of characters made for some relationship difficulty. Local color was provided by the many Colorado mountain eccentrics but this cast could have been cut down for story simplification and streamlining. In contrast, Kurt Muller, the book's central character, should have been bolstered in dimension by a more detailed physical description beyond big. Hardrock Stiff is a good summer beach read but make sure you're booked on vacation for at least a week.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars surprisingly good!, March 6, 2012
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Curtis Lyon "curtlyon19" (Carson City, NV United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hardrock Stiff (A Kurt Muller Mystery Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
I bought this on a whim and will be buying the rest of the authors stuff, quite good. Likeable characters and not easily figured out, not overly gory (thank goodness)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hackneyed and predictable, March 30, 2014
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This review is from: Hardrock Stiff (A Kurt Muller Mystery Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
This is the second of the three Kurt Muller novels, and I almost abandoned it half way through. The characters and plotting are wearisome and not interesting or engaging. While not exactly a polemic, the author's bias is loud and clear: greens, ultra-libs, and their ilk are the good guys, and business, the FBI, and the military are the bad guys. If your predilections align with the author's you may find these books more interesting than I did, but for me, the heavy handed political posturing overwhelmed any intrinsic value in the mystery and its solution. You may wish to borrow one of these books before investing in them, they do build on each other, but it is not necessary to read them in order.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but annoying, April 2, 2012
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Wine guy who reads (Northern California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hardrock Stiff (A Kurt Muller Mystery Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Plus side: Well written. Interesting Characters. Sense of place and time. Good local, background history provided. Paced well. Holds your interest.

Negative side: inserted lefty, snide, swipes for no useful or plot required reasons.

OK, I am not talking about the green movement vs. corporate greed, or land owners' rights, that is key to the plot. No, first, I am talking about inserting a swipe at Ronald Reagan for no compelling plot reason (and the story does not take place during his time as President).

Then, second, a gratuitous long paragraph insulting all vets (contemporary) who happen to live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the cheap, easy way of building up the protagonist (unhappy and mostly clueless Vietnam Vet) and providing back-story support for a nasty character (thuggish, brutish, other Vietnam Vet).

Well, now, the 1970s plot shorthand is back: crazy, warped, Vietnam vet, who is usually the bad guy or the victim or both. Missing parts: flashbacks to burning villages,raped women and bayoneted children at the order of some brutish officer or corrupt CIA type. If you are over 40, you remember all of this from Network TV and crappy movies of the period.

The insertions of this material is unworthy of a pretty good tale by a good writer. But, hey, taking the easy way out and giving a high five to lefty friends, reviewers and editors must be worth something.

I'm not sure I will follow the author after this one. Maybe I will. Undecided.
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5.0 out of 5 stars sleuth work on multiple fronts, June 6, 2014
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This review is from: Hardrock Stiff (A Kurt Muller Mystery Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Another fun read with lots of characters. I hope there will be more stories to come with the Aspen areas idiosyncracies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this adventure., April 12, 2014
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This review is from: Hardrock Stiff (A Kurt Muller Mystery Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
This is a excellent thriller that takes place Ina very unexpected areal the USA. The setting, the characters and the plot make this a great can't put it down story. I hope the author has more to come.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Liked the book, December 23, 2013
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This review is from: Hardrock Stiff (Hardcover)
Slow starter but good book. A little too {forgot the word for 'generic' to a location.}. Enjoyed the read. Bob
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4.0 out of 5 stars A SHORT ENTERTAINING "CRIMI LIGHT"., December 13, 2013
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This review is from: Hardrock Stiff (A Kurt Muller Mystery Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Funny stuff in auld criminal England. I found myself emulating the pronunciations and slang of the players after enjoying this quickie.Than goodness for Kindle's dictionary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and wonderful improvement over the first book, October 17, 2013
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This review is from: Hardrock Stiff (A Kurt Muller Mystery Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
I can't find a single thing about this book to find fault with. The story was consistent, evenly paced, characters fully developed, and an ending that was slightly predictable. This book should be part of all mystery lovers library.

Oh yeah, this is a little like a poor man's lingerie!
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