My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaithe
Blurb: Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.
“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”
Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they’re perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.
Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite has written a deliciously deadly debut that’s as fun as it is frightening.
I went into this book expecting to laugh or at least get some chuckles. I mean, look at the title! But from the very first page, any notions of a humorous/satirical novel was quickly dispelled.
The book starts off with sister Korede cleaning up a room after her sister Ayoola stabbed the boyfriend for yelling at her. One stab to the heart, two more to ensure he didn’t get. While Korede, the nurse, was cleaning and talking to Ayoola, it was clear that this has happened before.
What resonated with me (as a Nigerian) was the expectation that you protect family above all. So Korede is protecting her sister even though she’s simultaneously aiding and abetting a murderer and disposing a body and tampering with a crime season.
I also smiled at the descriptions of the Lagos, from hailing a taxi, to the calling of the trunk of the car “boot”.
Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel captures the way sisters are treated and pitted against each other unknowingly in the descriptions of their beauty and value.
Korede KNOWS her sister Ayoola is more beautiful and valued. Korede resents that her needs and desires take a back seat but she’s come to accept the role until it’s tested when Ayoola sets her sight on the doctor that Korede has been in love with. Korede struggles with protecting the doctor by letting him know to avoid her sister or loyalty to blood.
Honestly, this audiobook wasn’t the smoothest I’ve heard. The story should have had an epilogue or a better explanation at the ending. I struggled to understand Ayoola who never seemed to feel bad for killing her beaus. No remorse other than the feigned emotions when the family of her victims asked if she knew anything about their whereabouts.
What I liked was the way the author captured the culture and her descriptions gave me visual memories of Nigeria. That connection is what I related to and what I loved. Overall, the story was entertaining. But just be aware, it’s not funny. It’s a straight up suspenseful crime story.