Customer Reviews: Hardrock Stiff (A Kurt Muller Mystery Book 2)
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Customer Reviews

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on June 30, 2008
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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on March 30, 2014
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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on August 2, 2013
A good book to pass the time on holiday, or just chilling out in the garden - the author is clearly in love with Aspen, and clearly not very excited by its development (or any development, one is led to believe).

The plot was interesting, if not riveting, and for the price I paid, I can't really complain - although, after a while, the negative bias against the development industry starts to grate: I mean, I may even agree with the author's points, but I've bought a "Mystery" book (says so in the title: look) if I wanted to read about the evil of Big Corp in the USA I could always go and browse Greenpeace website.
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on October 17, 2013
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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on January 10, 2015
In this book I found that in the story there was truth about how far some people will go due to greed . And how far one man fought to end a company who used violence to end lives of those who got in their way .His fight to solve the crimes and a. Determination to see it thru to the end. It made for a really good story.
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on April 12, 2014
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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on April 2, 2012
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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on March 6, 2012
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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on November 4, 2012
I borrowed a friend's Kindle for vacation before getting my own and stumbled upon Into Thin Air. I really enjoyed it. I just finished Hardrock Stiff and liked it even more. I enjoy thriller/mystery books -- my favorite author being Michael Connelly with his amazing character Harry Bosch. I was pleasantly surprised how Zigal's Kurt Muller held my interest much like Harry Bosch. I'm about to download PARIAH. It's too bad Zigal didn't continue this series.
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on July 18, 2014
I enjoyed this story very much.
The only thing that I was hesitant about at the beginning was the use of high class and technical words.
They seemed to taper off as the story continued on.
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