Cover Image: My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer

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Member Reviews

This book was a great read. Creepy, funny, flippant. I love anything crime related so this was right up my street! I would recommend this book to a friend.
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Oyinkan Braithwaite’s novel, takes us inside a wealthy Nigerian family and looks at the relationship between two sisters. There is Korede, big sister and our narrator, and the more beautiful Ayoola, who keeps killing her boyfriends. Korede, efficient and loyal, knows her role is to look after her little sister, even if that means moving the bodies. All is so much macabre business as usual until the object of Korede’s affection sets his eyes on the lovely (at least to look at), Ayoola. Underlying the darkly humorous and fast paced present is the past family life, with an abusive patriarch. By the time the story begins, dad is dead and his violent legacy looms large in the home. Braithwaite blends these two strands (the past and present), seamlessly, to create a surprising  and highly  original novel.
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A really enjoyable read - darkly comic and at times, quite a romp, which also touches on serious issues around abuse and power.
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I tend to find the writing style of a lot of the popular stories set in Africa to be a little folksy for me. So many people seem to love folk tales. I do not.
But this relatively short book is told in a straightforward narrative from the rather severe point of view of Korade, the older sister, and interrupted by flashbacks to when their father was alive.

Korade shows little patience or affection for her mostly frivolous co-workers but is kind and conscientious towards her patients. She does have a soft spot for one of the doctors but he is oblivious to her feelings for him and her interpretation of his behaviour seems more a projection of her wishful thinking rather than a true assessment of his personality.
She seems to place a barrier between her feelings and the world outside and the only person with whom she ‘shares’ her concerns and confidences is a coma patient under her care.

The people Korade cares about most is her family. Even as they irritate, annoy and selfishly take her for granted she will protect them whatever the cost.

The story starts with a bang in the middle of one of the incidents described by the title. Despite certain niggling doubts and her fear of getting caught Korade feels compelled to help her sister even while she is exasperated that Ayoola seems almost completely unperturbed by the seriousness of the situation.

The flashbacks to her father’s abuse, the family’s hypocritical interactions with her father’s sister and Korade’s attitude to her co-workers displays how the concealment of their father’s abuse has distanced the family from the society around them, but the story ends without any attempt to explain or analyse the behavior of either Korade or Ayoola and no solution is offered.

This is both interesting but also a little depressing and the deceptively simple story style left me thinking for a long time after I had finished reading.
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I hesitated before requesting a review copy of My Sister, the Serial Killer because with a title like that it could go one of two ways. Fortunately for me it was brilliant.

Let me explain, I read more than my fair share of crime and thriller books, but I wouldn’t say it is my favourite genre. Fortunately, the author’s writing style lent itself to excellent read.

When Korede receives a late-night phone call from her younger sister Ayoola, she knows she is needed to clean up her mess yet again. This will be the third boyfriend she has killed in ‘self-defence’ and Korede is well aware that three makes her sister a serial killer.  

Korede has always looked after Ayoola and even now she still instinctively wants to protect her. That is until her sister sets her sights on the handsome doctor Korede has a crush on.

My Sister, the Serial Killer had a lot of hype surrounding it and generally I find that can be a negative thing as the expectation of how good it is means I am disappointed but this lived up to the hype.  It was so gripping that I started and finished it in the same day.

I knew I would like it from the first paragraph:

“Ayoola summons me with these words – Korede, I killed him.

I had hoped I would never hear those words again.”

One of my favourite things about this book was the accurate portrayal of the relationship between the two sisters. The sibling rivalry felt real but also the bond they had.

One thing I often struggle with in novels is the ability to engage if I dislike the character but this time I disliked both sisters and loved the book. Ayoola was vain and selfish as well as being a serial killer but Korede was also massively flawed in her own way not least in her ability to have doubts about her sister but not acting on them.

“On their one-month anniversary, she stabbed him in the bathroom of his apartment. She didn’t mean to, of course. He was angry, screaming at her, his onion-stained breath against her face.

(But why was she carrying the knife?)

The knife was for her protection. You never knew with men, they wanted what they wanted when they wanted it. She didn’t mean to kill him. She wanted to warn him off.”

My only criticism, if it could be called that, is that I didn’t want the book to end.
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I enjoyed this book very much. I loved the relationship between the sisters - having a sister myself, I found it believable. Read in one sitting. Will be looking out for more from this talented author.

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Atlantic Books, and the author Oyinkan Braithwaite. 
An enjoyable, easy read. Short and simple, would be perfect for a beach/holiday read.
Nothing too taxing, so a 3 star rating.
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Very dark, comic, fresh, this is unlike most books you will have read.  Big sister spends her time covering up for younger sister who has the unfortunate habit of doing away with her boyfriends - and at number 3 she is now officially a serial killer. Highly original read.
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Sisters. They stand by each other and defend each other, or do they? Korede and Alooyah are sisters. The latter has killed. Her sister has helped cover up her crimes but at what cost to herself? When the Dr at work is introduced to her stunning sister Korede has a hard time adjusting. Well her sister strike again?
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This is a really interesting set-up for a book, and the plot is well managed. The conclusion feels apt, but the way it  is told is somehow a little unsatisfying. However, it is a taut story, meaning the pages turn easily. A good holiday read for anyone willing to pack something a little darker in their suitcase.
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I left this book for a while for the hyp3e to die down.
I can say that I did really enjoy this book. I thought thr characters were very well thought out and portrayed well. 
I can't imagine what it would be like to be in that situation. Its  a rock and a hard place but the ending made me smile.
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What an explosive opening to a novel. My partner had picked this up when we were in a bookshop collecting an order. ‘You have to buy this’ he said ‘it’s right up your street’. That man knows me so well! This is a black hearted comic novel, the type you laugh at but feel as if you shouldn’t. The heroine is smart, feisty and fiercely loyal. The action moves at a breakneck pace. It’s whip smart, sarcastic and totally unique. I can’t believe it took me so long to find it. 

Korede is eating dinner when she receives a panicked call from her sister Ayoola. She was on a date with a poet called Femi, but now she’s asking her sister to come to his house. ‘Korede, I killed him’ she admits in the opening sentence. Korede’s reply tells us everything we need to know about this relationship. 

‘I had hoped i would never hear those words again’. 

In a split second we know that Ayoola has killed before and Korede, the big sister, has cleaned away the evidence. It’s not long before Korede is using her cleaning skills to tidy away Ayoola’s latest mistake. The girls live in Nigeria with their mother and one house maid. Korede is a nurse at the local hospital and Ayoola is a fashion designer who uses Instagram to sell her designs and runs them up on a sewing machine in her bedroom at home. Korede tells us they look very alike, down to the same beauty spot on the top lip. Yet somehow, Ayoola’s features have come together to create something harmonious and desirable. She has curves and is altogether the perfect example of beauty. Whereas Korede is tall and slim like a pencil. She has no curves and for some reason her features are not as appealing. We soon see that Ayoola is very aware of her charms and uses them to get what she wants. Even if that means treading over someone else to get it. Even if that someone else is her sister. 

For a long time Korede has secretly been in love with Tade, a doctor within the hospital she works at. They are friends and he finds her indispensable as a work colleague. Korede feels they have a special connection and hopes that one day it will grow into something more. One day Ayoola turns up at the hospital to take Korede to lunch, and as soon as she has seen Tade she turns on the charm. Korede has done everything to keep them apart, but hopes that Tade’s integrity and intelligence will help him see past the surface. Sadly, Tade proves himself to be like every other man. Once she sees them together Korede knows all is lost and within hours he has sent a gift of orchids to express his interest. Ayoola tells him she prefers roses and within hours a second bouquet arrives. Korede looks on with her heart breaking. The only person she can talk to, honestly, is the one who can’t answer her. A patient in a coma has been Korede’s priest and she’s sat by his bedside confessing to everything, including the fear that Ayoola could kill Tade. 

Korede gives us some background on the girl’s father and his abusive behaviour: beating Ayoola; trying to gain business advantages by giving his daughters to chiefs; bringing other women back to the family home and beating their mother. Their mother is largely passive, but Korede is in no doubt who the favourite daughter is. If Ayoola were to kill her friend Tade, it would still be Korede’s fault for introducing them. Korede jokes about this, but there is hurt and resentment underneath the gallows humour. Mum would never believe her precious baby girl is a killer. All of this tension builds beautifully. The short chapters speed the story along and my heart was racing, wondering what would happen to expose Ayoola’s murderous ways. How far will Korede go to save Tade? Or will she naturally choose covering up for her sister instead? 

I read this brilliant novel in an afternoon and evening. It does race along at a cracking pace and it’s very hard to put it aside without reading one more chapter. I felt so sad for Korede that she isn’t valued by her parents and she constantly feels like the inferior sister. When she loses Tade to her sister my heart broke for her. Although what I really wanted was for her to find someone who cared only about her, who she could form a relationship with based on honesty. Although that could only happen if she is taken away from her family or she chooses to let the law catch up with her sister. I did find myself laughing and smiling inappropriately, mainly at Korede’s narrative voice and her sardonic turn of phrase. There were parts that shocked me, because a character behaved differently to how I expected. I found myself hating Ayoola, not because she was a murderer, but because she was so narcissistic. She expected her sister to continue covering up her crimes, but also disrespected her by pursuing Tade in front of her. The ending didn’t disappoint and actually found myself rooting for the girls not to get caught! A brilliantly transgressive and entertaining novel.
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This was a very well written story. Korede has a sister who just can’t stop killing boyfriends, but when she becomes interested in the man Korede loves, what will Korede do?

My Sister the Serial Killer is a story about family loyalties and how far those ties will stretch; there is an underlying feeling of dark comedy to the book which I loved. I read it in one day and I can’t reccomend it enough.
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What do you do if your sister keeps killing people? A sister’s bond can be very strong. Ayala and Korede have many secrets like all sisters do and that began with their family. ​
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Well executed and gripping read.

The subject matter is hard but the prose is beautiful and draws you right in.

The author touches on relevant issues in society around beauty culture and in doing so becomes relatable.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to what the author does next.
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This is a story about a serial killer .... told by her enabler of a sister.  Ayoola is the beautiful younger sister who is charming and funny and gets all the guys. She Is also a big time misandrist who resents all the superficial men that only like her for looks.  Korede is the quiet, unassuming sister who cleans up after Ayoola and kowtows to her whims. 

Enter Tade, the lovely charming doctor that works in Korede’s hospital. She’s had a crush on him forever and just as she’s about to make headway, Ayoola walks in and swoops him up. Next thing you know they are getting engaged and Korede doesn’t know how to handle it.  

The story is funny in parts and moves at a quick pace. However I found the characters a little 2-dimensional. We never get to full grips with why Ayoola wants to kill her boyfriends or why Korede lets her walk all over her. Even Tade who is meant to be so kind, smart, and insightful never sees past Ayoola’s facade (even when she’s being a bitch and cheats on him) until it’s too late. The only character I actually like is Muhtar and he’s in a coma for half the book. 

The plot is different and interesting in parts. I also like and relate to the Nigerian setting but it’s not enough to lift this beyond a 3 star for me.
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A wonderful, upbeat book for such a terrible subject!  I was hooked immediately by the title and vibrant cover and quickly became drawn into the story of Korede, the nurse with slightly more of a conscience than her outwardly beautiful sister, Ayoola.  She does her level best to avoid further victims, especially when Ayoola looks closer to home for her next partner.  I loved the humour and acceptance of the crimes by both sisters, and the way the fraught but loving relationship between them holds the family and the plot together.  An excellent, unusual novel: I loved it!
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Not my usual fare but the title alone intrigued me and I can safely state that after reading this book I was not disappointed
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I really enjoyed this book. I didn't know what to expect, but the blurb hooked me in, and I found that I couldn't put it down.

The structure was really engaging and I loved the movement of the story. How it flicked backwards and forward between present day and the past with the girls' father.

I did feel worried for Korede though, as it is clear that Ayoola is very manipulative. This cane through in the accusations Tade made about Korede's treatment of her sister. I wouldn't put it past Ayoola that if it came to it, she would allege that Korede was to blame for all of the murders. She was after all a willing accomplice in disposing of the evidence, and has made these choices willingly, so isn't without guilt.

I would read this book again, I would recommend it to others to read, and I would seek out more books by the same author.
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NO SPOILERS

The crux of this story is serial murder…yet this book is full of humour and wit without being in poor taste, which I think is a pretty great achievement from Braithwaite.

From the beginning my sympathy was with the sisters whose history we slowly learn and in a paragraph near the end is one of the most touching moments I have ever read.

All the characters are very believable as, bizarrely, is the plot! The tale is told in the first person and Braithwaite’s style is flowing, fast and easy to read but, thankfully, is not overly simple. There is no waffling, no filling for word count and I was kept reading into the night. It’s something a little different and I would recommend it as a quick, extremely entertaining read.

Though the book is graphic in the practicalities, it is not gory, so is not a horror story and will not be beyond the faint hearted. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Atlantic for the Advanced Reader Copy of the book, which I have voluntarily reviewed.
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