I've read good things about the Haro Xeon. When I was still living in AZ, I considered getting one of those. I thought it would be the perfect bike for ripping down Six Shooter and Ice House Canyons in the Pinals, and for blazing down the trails in the Dry Lake Hills area of Flagstaff.
Also, if you're considering a 29er, their Mary SS and Mary XC are supposedly outstanding bikes for the money.
Now I work at EMS in NH, so I'm considering different brands.
"I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals; I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants." A. Whitney Brown