Nine Minutes by Beth Flynn

Nine Minutes by Beth Flynn messed me up. It tore the flesh from my body and left me nothing but vital organs and bones. From the very first page, I was mesmerized by the writing. Flynn’s words left me hypnotized, so much so that by the end I felt like I too suffered from a third-person Stockholm syndrome. I don’t know who I loved or hated. I just felt so strongly – too strongly – about all the characters that I was left raw and vulnerable. It was so messed up – the lies, the secrets, the torn feelings. It was all too much. I still don’t know how to feel.

23253863On May 15, 1975, fifteen-year-old Ginny Lemon is abducted from a convenience store in Fort Lauderdale by a member of one of the most notorious and brutal motorcycle gangs in South Florida.

From that moment on, her life is forever changed. She gets a new name, a new identity and a new life in the midst of the gang’s base on the edge of the Florida Everglades—a frightening, rough and violent world much like the swamps themselves, where everyone has an alias and loyalty is tantamount to survival.

And at the center of it all is the gang’s leader, Grizz: massive, ruggedly handsome, terrifying and somehow, when it comes to Ginny, tender. She becomes his obsession and the one true love of his life.

So begins a tale of emotional obsession and manipulation, of a young woman ripped from everything she knows and forced to lean on the one person who provides attention, affection and care: her captor. Precocious and intelligent, but still very much a teenager, Ginny struggles to adapt to her existence, initially fighting and then coming to terms with her captivity.

Will she be rescued? Will she escape? Will she get out alive—or get out at all? Part psychological thriller, part coming-of-age novel, filled with mystery, romance and unexpected turns, Nine Minutes takes readers into the world of one motorcycle gang and inside the heart of a young girl, whose abduction brought about its fall.

I picked up this book because it had really good reviews. I normally hate books set in the recent past but I love a good biker book. Nine Minutes was like the worst side of The Sons of Anarchy, the tv show (which I miss dearly). It was the most non-romantic romance story I’ve ever read, yet it was still touching and heartfelt and physical. I don’t know how else to put it. I both loved and hated every single character. They made dumb decisions, committed evil acts, yet held this tiny molecule of redemption.

This book was like a puzzle. I struggled to put the pieces together and it wasn’t until the end, when the big picture was complete before me, that I realized it was a web of deceit that was so evil and brilliant, but yet to be completed.

The book had a strange ending. Some things were buttoned up but it left me with more questions and hope—a sick kind of hope where even the dead may be resurrected in the next book – dead that deserved to be dead ten times over. I don’t know how to rate this book. I’m still a little dazed. Flynn has a way of making you feel for evil characters in a way that I’ve never experienced, probably because no one admits to evil intentions and motives – leaving everything in a mucky spectrum of grey.