I live in Pensacola, Florida so the riding isn't to intense. The biggest drop I have ever seen is probably about 10 feet, I am looking at the Jamis Parker if you say this is too much for a noob.
10' drop demands a FR bike, a whole new horizon and many more $ to ensure safety, fun, and that the bike won't break when you have touchdown. Forks and shocks are also paramount in ensuring good handling, driving the price up also.
Example: good top rated trail bike is the Giant Trance X4 @ $1400+, good for 3-4 drops to transition (not flats). a good top rated FR bike like the giant Reign X2 is $2250 and will accommodate the larger drops, again...to transition, not flat landings.
I'm not sure where you're headed here, but 10' means AM bikes are out. Would you consider a good trail ride or AM bike and rental of FR when you need it? There's no "do it all" bike out there really, but the mfrs are trying to find a design that works.
Hope this helps, Jim