Sandra Greene is stuck in a rut - barely making ends meet with her job at the pizza place, no college education, no social life, and definitely no boyfriend. The worst part? She’s only 21, and already her life is at a dead-end. But that all changes when Sandra attends her friend Annette’s wedding. Remembering Annette as a shy girl with few friends, Sandra is shocked to see the huge church full of Annette’s new friends: members of the Hunt Club. The Hunt Club is a matchmaking organization which Sandra (to her utter delight) is invited to become a part of. However, the Hunt Club goes beyond the normal definition of matchmaking. A girl picks one perfect, wealthy, good-looking man, and the Hunt Club uses its vast membership and extraordinary resources to bring the two together. It rarely (if ever) fails, and in return, the girl promises a certain percentage of her future husband’s income back to the club.
Sandra is thrilled with the prospect of finding her dream man, especially one who’s rich. She doesn’t question her good fortune and the ease with which The Hunt Club manages to remove obstacles to make its matches work. It’s only after seeing the harsh measures that they take to bring a man and a woman together (as well as a brief visit with the FBI) that Sandra begins to question what she has gotten herself into. Before she knows it, she is embroiled in the middle of an FBI investigation and is chosen by the club for a hunt of her own - and she has no idea if she will make it out of there alive!
Good Man Hunting is a witty novel by Lisa Landolt with many winning attributes, but the best part of it is probably how well she writes her characters. Sandra is an appealing narrator who has a fresh voice. It is clear that she is smart and has a good sense of humor. It’s a pleasure to see the world through her eyes, especially as she realizes what’s really going on around her. The secondary characters are also very well-written – the reader feels a character’s pain over a hunt gone wrong and shares Sandra’s disbelief when she uncovers the lengths these women will go to in order to make their match.
The one disclaimer the book needs is an ability to take off your thinking cap during the duration of the reading. It is hard to believe the resources of The Hunt Club and what they can accomplish if you think about it too much. For example, if a woman poses as a sign language teacher in order to accomplish her hunt, isn’t it likely that her husband will eventually find out that she actually doesn’t teach sign language? The members of the club tell the most extraordinary lies and stage the craziest events in order to get their women together with the man of their choice, but it just seems that if the men had any sense at all, they would see right through what was going on - especially if they ended up with the woman for the rest of their lives. However, the book is whimsical and fun; it doesn’t need that kind of analysis in order to be enjoyable.
With Good Man Hunting, it’s hard to know what to expect after reading the blurb on the back cover, but the book will immediately hook you if you give it a chance. It has all the elements of a good story: wit, emotion, and a good dash of suspense thrown in. What is really remarkable is that it is Landolt’s debut novel, and it was written in only ten days. Landolt has a bright future ahead of her if she continues to write at this level.