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Antler Dust: An Allison Coil Mystery (Allison Coil Mystery #1)

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  445 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Antler Dust begins with a bang. Two bangs.

On the opening day of the hunting season in the Colorado Flat Tops wilderness, two men go missing. The first is a hunting guide. The second is an animal rights protestor who believes his creative suicide will galvanize the animal rights movement. Hunting guide Allison Coil hears a distant rifle shot and sees just enough through the
Paperback, 284 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by People's Press (first published January 23rd 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,057)
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Apr 09, 2012 Micheal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Still slumming in the world of pulp fiction.

I kid, of course. Nothing wrong with pulp fiction, although this is a divergence of subject for me, never having been interested in mystery/suspense.

What attracted me to this book was the setting. You see, I was a hunting guide in the Flattop Wilderness where this story takes place, and worked at the Ripple Creek lodge. In fact, my experiences there and working for other hunting lodges inspired me to write a couple novels of my own set in this environ
Gail Storey
Oct 20, 2014 Gail Storey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading Antler Dust, I'm hooked on the Allison Coil series by Mark Stevens. Stevens raises the mystery to high literary art with his stunning prose and unforgettable characters. Although we learn early on who committed each of two murders, the novel progressively deepens in psychological complexity. Motives, ethics, personalities, and agendas intertwine against the vivid backdrop of the Colorado Flat Tops wilderness. Hunting guide Allison Coil guides the reader through the twists of the pl ...more
Jennifer Kincheloe
I loved this book set in the mountains of Colorado. The setting is vivid, fresh, and well-researched. I felt like I was there. Allison Coil, the hunting guide turned amatuer slueth, is someone I want to spend more time with. She's smart, strong, competent, and thriving in a man's world despite the sexism, which is wonderfully captured by author Mark Stevens. I listened to this on audiobooks and the narration was fantastic. I will definitely be reading more Allison Coil mysteries.
Terry Odell
Sep 25, 2015 Terry Odell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book in the author's Allison Coil mystery series introduces his protagonist. She's a guide for a hunting outfitter, and a plane crash survivor. She's smart, savvy, and generally likable, and definitely displays a strong work ethic. Her interest in men while she was in a semi-committed relationship raised some interesting questions for me. Do we have a double standard when it comes to the sex lives of characters? In John Sandford's books, Virgil Flowers is an admitted horndog and it's g ...more
I'm not sure I'm the best person to write a review of this book. It's a whole bunch of things that I don't normally read, don't always enjoy, and can't judge objectively. It's a mystery, and mysteries are really not my genre. I'm not in it for the puzzle. I tend to just drift along until the culprit is unmasked, never particularly engaged. It's also a bit of a Western, again not really my genre. It's all backcountry guides, forest rangers, horseback riding, and hunting. The Westerns I've enjoyed ...more
Carol Berg
This was a fine debut novel. Well paced, a good cast of the motley folks you find in a mountain community, and I loved the Colorado landscape details. (OK, I would have liked even more!) Alison Coil, city girl turned mountain guide after a close brush with death, was an interesting sleuth. When an eco-protester is tragically shot by a distracted hunter, Alison sets out to investigate an incident she witnessed at about the same time - a piece out of place in a puzzle everyone else seems to think ...more
Jan 10, 2016 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, terrible editing

I thought this was a very interesting book. It had a lot of unexpected twists and turns that kept me guessing. Unfortunately the editing was horrible. Or if it wasn't the editing, the "printing" was disastrous!
Melissa Ann
Not the sort of thing I would usually read but really fantastic.
Nov 16, 2011 Kelley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Needed something to kick off being done with the "Game of Thrones" book #5.... and this just did not do it for me. Predictable.... shallow.... and most annoyingly.... about hunters but I don't think this author has ever hunted, been around the "gun culture" (one of his main guys showed up to threaten his wife with an UNloaded gun.... no one that means business and routinely handles guns "pretends" to threaten anyone with an UNloaded gun... WTH??), dressed out a carcass or spent much time in the ...more
Mar 20, 2016 Kevintipple rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Allison Coil came out to Colorado’s Flat Top wilderness to leave memories of death and destruction behind. Which is somewhat ironic since her new chosen profession was to be a hunting guide where she would routinely see death. The concept of death and what death means has become an almost constant companion while she seeks solace in the beautiful Colorado Mountains and the local area known as Ripplecreek. Hunting guides aren’t a rarity in the mountains but being a woman she stands out and once a ...more
Breakaway Reviewers
Brilliant story taking place in beautiful countryside.

Having had the pleasure of reading both TRAPLINE and LAKE OF FIRE I needed to read the first book in this excellent series and have just finished ANTLER DUST.

This is our first encounter with Allison Coil in her new life following her horrific escape from a plane crash. She was so traumatised by the accident that she’s given up on city life and has moved to take up a position as a guide working for Pete Weaver in the Rocky Mountains, helping t
Will Decker
Jan 13, 2016 Will Decker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I really enjoyed the story, found it well written, and the characters very believable in that they did things and acted like most normal people would under the circumstances, I had a difficult time working my way through the book due to a complete breakdown of paragraph structure. I was forced to backup and re-read many times just to figure out who said what. The paragraph structure problems only appeared during the dialogue, so it’s very possible that the conversion into Mobi for the K ...more
Jan 23, 2016 Scot rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first novel introducing a mystery series featuring protagonist Allison Coil, a backwoods guide in Colorado who has escaped from life in the big city as an advertising executive after being one of the lucky survivors who went through the trauma of an airplane wreck into deep waters. We learn more about this as the book goes along, but to be honest she always seemed so brooding and self-guarded that I can’t say I developed much empathy for her, even given the sympathetic backstory comp ...more
Feb 08, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it
Wow, what a great discovery. "Antler Dust" is the first in Colorado-based mystery writer Mark Stevens's Allison Coil mystery series.

After surviving an airplane crash two years previous, Allison Coil got as far away from big cities (and airplanes) as she could. She ended up as a hunting guide in Colorado. The novel opens with her flirting with a cute male client as she shows him and his city-slicker friends how to dress their first kill, a bull elk. By the end of the chapter, two men are dead fo
Sep 21, 2011 Mackay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
It occurred to me when I put the second in this series on "to read" that I'd never added the first.
This is a thriller more than a mystery, because one of the great things Stevens does is let readers know who dunnit right away...and it's still a page-turner, set in Colorado's high country, full of more and more surprises and a tough heroine who's fun to be with.
Jan 22, 2016 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good book

I was pleasantly surprised, this was a free book and often they are pretty awful. This was good, no egregious errors or wildly improbable plot points. That's not to say it was perfect, there were some mildly improbable events and actions and the formatting on the kindle made it difficult to always tell who was speaking. But it held my interest, the setting is one I have some familiarity with and it was well described and the heroine is scrappy, if a bit over the top in risk takin
Jan 18, 2016 Arun rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was SO slow and SO boring! The action is concentrated in the beginning and end of the book, while the mid-section is just people talking to people about other people, interspersed with elaborate descriptions of the wilderness. I was unable to connect with any of the characters, especially the protagonist, whose flashbacks to an ordeal on Long Island Sound become tiresome after the first three descriptions.

The paragraph structure is all garbled in the Kindle rendition. It is difficult t
Apr 08, 2016 Sundar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read fiction in a long time, so I don't know what to expect in fiction. I found the prose to be good overall with occasional brilliance. The plot seems to be a little weak to me. Too many superfluous characters insufficiently invested in give a feeling of incompleteness. Allison being unable to catch obvious cues because she trusts in people makes her real. However, it is not all that enjoyable when it's no longer a mystery for the reader. Also the author might have been trying to brin ...more
Jennifer Robb
This fiction book is set in the world of hunting and hunting guides. On her way back home from helping a group her employer is guiding, Allison Coil sees something suspicious through the snow. At first, she just wants to prove to the sheriff that she wasn't imagining things. Her investigating riles the wrong people and she soon finds herself in danger--and finds that her boyfriend isn't all she believed him to be.

I probably wouldn't read another in this series because I didn't really cotton to
Allynn Riggs
Mar 07, 2016 Allynn Riggs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery based in a part of Colorado I hold very dear to my heart. I especially appreciated the strong female character, Allison Coil. Having grown up on the west slope, the daughter of a big game wildlife specialist and hunting in this particular area for over forty years, I congratulate Stevens for being spot on with the geography, weather, and most of the biology. Only one slip with the species of deer (no white tail deer are present in the Flat Top Wilderness area, o ...more
Mark Stevens is not a native of Colorado, but this does not stop him from setting a mystery series there. Like all good authors, he makes being an “outsider” into an asset. His main character, Allison Coil, is an outsider with a past who goes West to paste together the fractured pieces of her life. She is the survivor of an airplane crash, but she does not delude herself with feelings of invincibility, nor does she feel inoculated against bad luck. She is still fearful, and her nightmares come a ...more
Jim Ament
Mar 11, 2012 Jim Ament rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-thriller
The premise of Antler Dust, Colorado resident Mark Stevens’ first novel, is enticing. It’s about Allison Coil, a female hunting guide working the big elk hunts in the Colorado Flat Tops Wilderness and two killings—of humans—on the opening day of hunting season. One death involves the “creative suicide” of Ray Stern, an animal rights activist with the group FATE—Fighting Animal Torture Everywhere. The second killing involves another guide. It’s not a whodunit. We know who did the deeds. It’s more ...more
Mike McClanahan
Dec 22, 2012 Mike McClanahan rated it really liked it
The dangerous thing in reading books written by friends is that you may not like them (the books, not the friends). While mystery/crime is my go-to genre for fiction, I'm not big on outdoorsy stories, prefering hard-boiled urban settings with which I'm more familiar. And I'm suspicious of transplanted easterners who too often evolve into wilderness-loving environmentalist dilettantes. So it was with some trepidation that I cracked the cover to Antler Dust. I'm glad I did.

As is the case with many
Anna Marie
Jan 30, 2016 Anna Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick read, fairly well written, although the characters are difficult to connect with. The reader learns of two deaths right away then the rest of the book is about the characters figuring out what happened. Allison hears a gunshot and sees with her binoculars a man dragging something. The cops don't seem to take Allison seriously, so she sleuths on her own.
Jerry Walch
It was a good read but there were many mistakes in choice of words which leads me to believe that the author depended on a spell checker rather than a human proof reader. At times it was also hard to tell who was speaking because the author didn't always begin the dialogue with a new indented line when the character speaking changed. If it hadn't been for these mechanical and grammatical errors I would have rated the story at four stars.
Mary L.
It looks like I read this book in one day--I didn't, my computer was in the shop. It had way to much graphic sex for my taste. The plot was so twisted in this mystery that I was completely shocked at the end. If he could have left some of the sex out I would have loved to read another of his books--as it is I won't.
Valerie Worster
glad I finished it

After a few chapters o grew bored. I prefer a murder mystery where you don't know what happened until the end. But I stuck it out because the writing style was different than I'm used to, and I liked it. The author threw in enough intrigue toward the end to make me glad I finished it.
Douglas Hawk
Jan 22, 2016 Douglas Hawk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mark Stevens does a remarkable job capturing the atmosphere and essence of high country Colorado. The clash between hunters and protesters underscores a fascinating plot in which his vividly-drawn characters and fascinating plot make for an enjoyable read. This is the first book of a series and well worth reading.
Jan 25, 2016 Raven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Big game hunting guaranteed trophy

Who done it? No answers given. Who was part of the conspiracy? What's the purpose of the plane crash thread line? Is this a story of betrayal, animal rights, lawlessness?
If you can get past that a big-city girl can seemingly quickly become an adept hunting guide in the wilderness, the characters are interesting and the story kept me reading.
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I’m the son of two librarians.

My first mystery, "Antler Dust," was published in 2007 and made the best-seller list on The Denver Post. Two years later, it was back on the same list. Great reviews from The Aspen Times and Great Falls (Montana) Tribune, among others.

The sequel, "Buried by the Roan," was published in August, 2011. (Said Margaret Coel: "Flat-out terrific.") Itr was a finalist for the
More about Mark Stevens...

Other Books in the Series

Allison Coil Mystery (4 books)
  • Buried by the Roan: An Allison Coil Mystery
  • Trapline
  • Lake of Fire

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“If I hadn’t come back today to check on you boys, which one of you would have taken this puppy apart?” she said. “I was going to wing it,” 0 likes
“Allison Coil stroked the soft neck of the massive bull elk. The skin was still warm to the touch. She felt the smooth fur on the animal’s head, looked at the crimson dot on its skull that leaked blood, then pressed her index finger against the spot where death had found an opening.” 0 likes
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