Cover Image: My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

My Sister, The Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite's debut novella, is a unique and refreshing read. It tells the tale of two sisters, Korede and Ayoola, who are close, so close in fact that Korede knows to expect her sister to call her next time she's in the mood for offing a lover from this mortal coil and wants someone to clean up her murderous mess. All that's to change though given Ayoola's interest in dating a doctor her sister has always loved, creating a conflict of interest. This time the gloves are off. This is such an unusual book, and the juxtaposition between the dark deeds and thoughts of a serial killer and the wit and black humour is really something special.

This is a truly wonderful creation and I can't help but hope there will be a sequel as I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to these spectacular sisters just yet. I rarely find modern humour entertaining but it is used cleverly here, very cleverly in fact. The final touches are put to this by the interesting references to Nigerian culture. I also have to mention the superb writing which had me hooked early on and everything worked well together to create one of my favourite books of 2018 and will appeal to those who are losing interest in the genre due to lack of originality. Bravo, Ms Braithewaite! This will stay with me for a long time to come.

Many thanks to Atlantic for an ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Man ist gleich in der Geschichte drin, Korede hilft ihrer Schwester Ayoola die Leiche und die Spuren nach der dritten Tat zu beseitigen. Sie hat ihren Freund Femi angeblich in Notwehr getötet, wiedermal ein toter Freund...

Eines Tages geschieht das, was Korede immer vermeiden wollte, Ayoola kommt sie unangekündigt in die Klinik auf der Arbeit besuchen und trifft auf den jungen Arzt, für den Korede schon seit einem Jahr vergeblich schwärmt.

Doch dann wird hinter Femis Sofa ein blutiges Tuch gefunden...

Korede hat sich angewöhnt, sich bei dem bewusstlosen Koma Patienten Muhtar auszusprechen. Zur Krönung muss sie ihrer Schwester auch noch immerzu bestätigen, dass sie nicht böse auf sie ist und weiter an die Notwehrversionen glaubt. Ayoola war schon immer die schöne, beliebte und bevorzugte Schwester.

Keine Ahnung wie, aber Ayoola schafft es immer wieder, dass die anderen als schuldige Monster dastehen, die Unrecht haben.

Durch eingestreute Kapitel mit Rückblicken erfährt man mehr über die schwere Kindheit der beiden Schwestern mit dem untreuen, gewalttätigen Vater, der vor 10 Jahren verstorben ist.

Dieser Thriller ist recht nüchtern und zynisch, aber auch kurzweilig. Korede ist eine sympathische, nachvollziehbare Protagonistin. Man fiebert dem Ende entgegen.

5 von 5 Punkten
Was this review helpful?
"More and more, she reminds me of him. He could do a bad thing and behave like a model citizen after. As though the bad thing had never happened. Is it in the blood? But his blood is my blood and my blood is hers."

This was my first read of 2019 and I really enjoyed it. It follows the story of Korede who, once again, has had to help her sister Ayoola clean up the mess after she's killed another one of her boyfriends. When Ayoola starts dating one of Korede's colleagues, a man she herself has been in love with for years, everything starts to unravel.
Was this review helpful?
The clue is in the title for this one. Korede gets a call from her beautiful and irresponsible sister, Ayoola - something has happened. She has stabbed her boyfriend and Korede immediately goes to help her clean up the mess and get rid of the body. Of course she helps; Ayoola is her sister.

As time goes on, and Ayoola gets close to someone Korede cares about, she begins to worry that it might happen again. She begins to wonder whether she should have done something about her sister, the murderer....

This is just a much a story about sisters as it is about murder; perhaps even more so. Korede is the older sister, and very serious and responsible. Ayoola is the complete opposite - carefree, superficial, beautiful. But beneath all this they are still sisters and they still have things that bond them together as family. The question Korede must answer is whether these things are an excuse to cover up murder.

I love the writing in this book. It is both funny and emotional, and surprisingly not very serious given the subject matter of the book. The style of writing has a very contemporary feel, and the wonderful Nigerian slang and colloquialisms make this delightful to read - very different and interesting in comparison to European or American styles. The author has a very dry and dark humour which is perfect for the subject and the characters in this book.

The storyline was also something different in the way it is put across almost like a sit-com or lighthearted family drama, not as a serious story about murder and sisterhood. But it is both; all of the above. 

I really enjoyed this book overall and I would recommend it to anyone, although because of the strong female characters and the romantic aspects of the book I view it more as women's fiction. But maybe I'm being sexist there and I'm sure plenty of fellas would enjoy it too!
Was this review helpful?
This was a NetGalley ARC, which I requested based on the whimsical sounding synopsis – I know, that sounds weird, given that it’s about her sister killing her boyfriends, but it just sounded that way to me! It’s set in Nigeria, which I don’t think I’ve read before, and it was a refreshing backdrop to the story. It follows Korode, sister to Ayoola who, as the synopsis states, ends up killing all her boyfriends. All the characters in this story are fairly unlikable – which I think is the whole point. Even Korode, who is the long-suffering clean-up squad to her more self-absorbed sister, doesn’t act in way that makes you be on her side. I felt for her in how she gets treated being the older, less attractive sister, but part of me wanted her to just grow a backbone and leave her sister to clean up her own messes. Ayoola is frustrating to read, but also quite believable. At least it’s equal opportunity unlikable – it goes for both the male and female characters! Even this supposedly great guy becomes a patronizing bastard once the pretty girl shows up. I liked the style of the story, written in very short chapters and snippets, with flashbacks filling out the backstory and with that the motivation for the sisters. It’s very much deals with themes of judgement based on appearances rather than accomplishments or how they treat the people around them. Overall an enjoyable read.
Was this review helpful?
4.5/5 Stars

I didn’t know what to expect going into this one because it had such a unique premise, it’s one thing to have your sister catch the eye of the guy who you’ve been in love with for as long as you can remember, but to know that your sister also tends to end her relationships by killing her boyfriends, that is something else entirely. What’s also interesting about this, is that we already know that Korede’s sister is without a doubt a serial killer, so this wasn’t a whodunnit, but more will she do it again and will it so happen to be the guy of Korede’s dreams, “He has the ability to look at you and make you feel like you are the only thing that matters”. Although, as the title suggests, this story revolves around Korede’s sister being a serial killer, this is very much Korede’s story. We see her struggle with the fact that her sister is a serial killer, and she knows that this is seriously bad, but she also knows that she loves her sister more than anything, even if her jealousy is barely contained at times, “Is this how he sees her? As an exotic beauty? I console myself with the knowledge that even the most beautiful flowers wither and die.”

Korede was often a difficult character to wrap my head around, as although the book is told from her point of view and is very well written, there’s some sort of clinical way that she describes the things around her and her emotions. This was so intriguing to me as it made me think that there may have been something going on with her mentally, I mean who wouldn’t be affected by having to help their sister clean up murders, “Every time I close my eyes I see a dead man. I wonder what it would be like to see nothing again”. She is constantly under a lot of stress worrying about whether or not her sister will get caught and whether or not she will strike again. When she feels particularly stressed we see this manifest in her obsessive cleaning. There is a constant battle going on inside her head about what she should and shouldn’t of done in regards to her sister, “Is it mere coincidence that Ayoola has never had a mark on her, from any of the incidents with these men; not even a bruise? What does she want from me?”. She has this instinctual need to protect her sister and stand by her side, but she can’t seem to shake her sisters latest victim from her thoughts and she starts to flesh out her own idea of him in her head, “close my eyes. And there he is. Femi. His face forever etched into my mind. I can’t help but wonder what he was like”, and this more than anything starts her contemplating her sisters motives and the fact that she has really ended someone’s life, again!

I obviously knew that the relationship between Korede and her sister Ayoola would have a huge role in this book, but I didn’t quite expect it to be so complex. On top of dealing with her sister being a serial killer, Korede is struggling with how she views her sister in general. Although I described Korede as being quite clinical regarding her feelings, I honestly felt so sorry for her with the dynamics between her and sister, and just how aware she is of people treating her sister differently. Ayoola has a curvaceous body, has much lighter skin and has beauty that sets her apart from everyone else, “I can see her trying to make the connection, measuring Ayoola’s looks against mine…Ayoola looks like a Bratz doll and I resemble a voodoo figurine”. Ever since they were little, Korede has noticed that they have been treated differently, by their mother, by the boys at school and by their dads seedy business partners and Korede responds to it in the only way she knows how – a mixture of jealousy and fierce protectiveness. She is more than used to everything going Ayoola’s way and has almost just fallen into subordination, being second best – if even that, cleaning up Ayoola’s mistakes and accepting her general lot in life. It was really sad to see how she was treated compared to her sister and sometimes I just wanted to scream at her, but this was so well written that I also understood that she almost feels compelled to put her sister first, “I am not angry. If I am anything, I am tired…I was about to eat when she called me. I had laid everything out on the tray in preparation…by the time I get home, the food will be cold”

It’s probably fair to say that by now, Korede is very aware of her role of cleaning up after her sister extending to helping her cover up these murders that she has committed. She is obviously not okay with this arrangement, but she has almost excepted it, as she does everything else about her sister. Korede only ever really sees the aftermath of her sisters relationships, with a knife embedded in the now ex boyfriend, however, when Ayoola starts to draw the eye of Korede’s long time secret love, Korede is put in a unique position. It is now within her grasp to stop her sister from ending this mans life at any given moment that she chooses. Korede’s love for her sister is very strong, but she is also deeply in love with this doctor and she knows that whether she chooses to intervene or not, she will have made her choice, picked her side, “I think of Tade, fish swimming by as he drifts down toward the ocean bed, toward Femi”. If she intervenes, surely she is choosing the doctor over her sister and if she doesn’t intervene, well then she’s chosen her sister. I can’t even imagine what a dilemma this must be, and quite understandably she buckles under the pressure and confides in the only person that she can, an unresponsive patient that is expected to pass away at any moment.

Her complicated feelings about her sister sometimes get the better of Korede and she contemplates exposing her a number of times, “I imagine her trying to blag her way out of it and being found guilty. The thought tickles me. I relish in it for a moment, and then force myself to set the fantasy aside. She is my sister”. I won’t say whether she does or not, as that is part of the fun, however she knows that even if she did, her mum or anyone for that matter would probably not even believe her, because it’s Ayoola and she gets away with any and everything. Korede even believes that her mother would find a way to blame everything on her, as this has been the case for as long as she can remember, “That’s how it has always been. Ayoola would break a glass, and I would receive the blame for giving  her the drink…Ayoola would take an apple and leave the store without paying for it, and I would be blamed for letting her get hungry”. 

It’s very apparent that both sisters may have mental health problems, but we’re not ever given a concrete reason for why Ayoola kills these unsuspecting men. But I personally think that their relationship with their father is what has made them both what they are. Their father is no longer alive, but he’s mentioned quite a lot throughout the book as Korede recalls memories of him, without any nostalgia or fondness whatsoever. Their father seemed like a truly awful man, he was violent to both the girls and their mother, did corrupt dealings and would openly cheat on their mother, in their own house!!! “He pulled our mother off her feet by her hair and slammed her against the wall. Then he struck her face…the “woman” laughed. “see, my boyfriend will not let you touch me.” My mother slid down the wall to the ground. They stepped over her and proceeded to his bedroom”, honestly, how despicable can you be! Although it’s not said outright, I’m pretty sure that this tumultuous childhood has massively affected both of them and is why Ayoola has issues with men and exhibits unchecked bouts of violence, claiming them as self-defence. Ever since they were little, Korede has tried to protect Ayoola from their father and his perverted business partners, and I think that she just never learned how to stop and it’s developed into doing whatever Ayoola requires her to, “Ayoola was my responsibility and mine alone”.

This was a very interesting book that held my attention the whole way through. Until the whole scenario of Korede deciding whether to save the doctor or not, this book to me was more character driven. I think that the writer did a fantastic job of fleshing out these characters, whilst also maintaining this distance, which was compelling, given the type of story that it is. It may be easy to just focus on the morality aspect of whether or not Korede should hand her sister in and if she will in fact intervene between the doctor and her sister, but for me I really couldn’t stop analysing the role their father had in their current situation. And so I would say that this is a story about the effects of childhood trauma, “One day he was towering over me, spitting pure hell. He reached for his cane”, and how it can create the fiercest and yet, unhealthiest of bonds and the complexity of the relationship between sisters, “I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I realized that Ayoola was beautiful and I was…not. But what I do know is that I was aware of my own inadequacies long before”. Some people may not like the ending but I thought that it was a bold way to end it, as many people probably weren’t happy with the outcome, but I thought it was brilliantly unexpected, so yes, I would recommend it.
Was this review helpful?
My Sister, the Serial Killer is a wonderful, dark meditation on the relationship between sisters. What do you do when your sister has killed three boyfriends and now has her sights set on your crush? Fans of serial killer psychology dramas and anyone with a sister will enjoy this short novel. It is tightly plotted, the action always moving forward, even when the narrator, Korede, has flashbacks to the past.
Was this review helpful?
Love and loyalty – the ties that bind

Set in Nigeria, this novel centres on the relationship between two sisters, Korede, the elder, and Ayoola. From a good and prosperous family, Korede is a dedicated nurse, while Ayoola has her own fashion business. Ayoola is also achingly beautiful, where her sister is larger, darker and has harder features.

When Ayoola phones Korede with the words ‘I killed him’, Korede has no option but to act to sort out her sister’s mess and to protect her from the consequences of her crime. Again. Together they clean up and then dump the body in the river.

Somehow, with this being Nigeria, their actions do not seem as dangerous as if the novel were set in Italy, say; in our Western eyes, Nigeria is a dangerous and corrupt place, and such behaviour seems less shocking.

While Ayoola sails through life, mostly untouched by what she has done, Korede has a conscience and confesses her worries to an unconscious patient whom she visits. He is unlikely to wake up and so she feels the sanctuary of the confessional. She also harbours the fact that she is in love with Dr Tade Otumu, who does not seem to return the feelings.

As the novel continues the body count rises, but Ayoola is a picture of innocence. I did wonder quite why Korede was so willing to protect her sister, but of course, she has been pulled in and is now complicit.

There is not a lot of suspense in this novel which seems to unfurl in a matter of fact fashion. Korede fears there will be more victims but is unable to bring herself to do anything about it.

The conclusion is surprising, and reveals more of the sisters' backstory, giving the reader a very different take on what has gone before.

An intriguing read and impressive first novel.


Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
Was this review helpful?
#MySisterThe SerialKiller is an enjoyable novella about a sister who kills and a sister who cleans up the mess left behind.

When the beautiful & deadly Ayoola sets her sights on a colleague who Korede has long been in love with, will Korede be able to save him without exposing their secrets?

I enjoyed learning a little about Nigerian culture through this book, but ultimately the bonds of sisterhood are universal. Will Ayoola get away with her crimes? When will she kill again?  Will Korede be able to protect her little sister from her own actions?

Thanks to #NetGalley and the publisher for my free advance copy in return for an unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
Korede is called out to help her sister who has killed her boyfriend in self defence she claims. They hide the body and clean up but this is not the first time Korede has cleaned up after her sister. Then her sister falls for Tade a doctor who works with Korede and someone Korede loves. The question is where Korede's loyalties will lie. 

This is quite a different read. It's an interesting take on murder told from the person who helps clean up after but was never involved. It makes you question a lot as to whether you would do what she did to protect her sister. There are serious moments but in many ways it's a lighter look at the situation. 

I liked Korede and really felt for her but did not like her sister at all which I think in many ways is the point. A different read but a good one.
Was this review helpful?
This book is exactly what it says on the tin. Her sister is a serial killer. 
What is entertaining, humorous, thrilling, shocking and heartwarming is essentially a tale of love between two sisters. 
This was easy to read and exactly the length it should of been. 
Although I doubt it will stick with me forever this was a brilliant book and I loved every second of reading it.
Was this review helpful?
Although dedicated to her patients and respected by her superiors, nurse Korede knows that no matter what she achieves in life, she'll always play second fiddle to her younger sister, Ayoola. She's the pretty one; the favourite. She also happens to be a psychotic serial killer.

The book begins with Ayoola summoning Korede to her boyfriend's house. On arriving at Femi's, Korede finds Ayoola has fatally stabbed him. She claims Femi attacked her and she acted in self defence. Korede knows better. Afterall, this isn't the first, or even the second time she's had to clean up after her sister and get rid of a body: Femi is the third boyfriend Ayoola has killed.

Unpertubed, Ayoola isn't in the least bit remorseful and within a few short days she's ready to move on and find a new man. With Femi's family frantic at his sudden disappearance, however, Korede thinks Ayoola should lie low for a while and act the part of the concerned girlfriend "mourning" her missing boyfriend. To do otherwise might look suspicious.

When Ayoola shows up at the hospital uninvited, she meets Tade. Uh oh. Korede's secretly in love with the handsome, kind doctor and dreamed that one day he'd realise they were perfect for each other. Instead, Korede can only watch as Tade quickly falls under her beautiful sister's spell.

Powerless and more than a little afraid for Tade's life, Korede would like nothing more than to reveal her sister's dark side. But who would believe her? Torn between protecting the man she's in love with and her loyalty to her sister, with nobody to turn to, Korede vents to the one person she knows can't share her secret: a patient who has been in a coma for years.

But Korede knows all too well what will happen if she doesn't intervene...

Considering this title's under 250 pages long, with several chapters only comprising a few short sentences, it packs quite a punch. Other than its title, I knew nothing about this book before I downloaded it and while it turned out to be a very different story to what I was expecting from the title alone, I found it enjoyable nonetheless.

Yes, Ayoola's boyfriends end up dropping like flies but rather than the usual serial killer thrillers that fill up my downloads folder, I found My Sister, The Serial Killer to be a humorous novel about the trials and tribulations of sisterhood; a disturbing story of familial obligation and a would-be love story, set amidst the culture and backdrop of Lagos, Nigeria.

In Ayoola and Korede Oyinkan Braithwaite has created two very different complex and fascinating characters. Ayoola's frivolous, superficial and obsessed with social media, but her feigned naivete and utter indifference make for several humorous moments. That she seems to genuinely forget all about the men she murdered just a couple of days beforehand completely floors level-headed, logical Korede.

We're also given glimpses of the sisters' shared family history and the trauma they both experienced as children, and it was interesting to see how the author developed both characters differently off the back of the abuse they suffered at the hand of their father.

If you're looking for a quick crime novel that still manages to maintain a little suspense alongside the humor it offers, you'll probably finish this title in one or two sittings. If, however, you prefer novels that tax your little grey cells, you'll probably want to skip this one.
Was this review helpful?
Sadly, I was disappointed by this book. It failed to deliver the black comedy promised by the title, and instead only offered irritating characters, along with a lack of plot or character development. At the end of the book, Ayoola is just as infuriatingly vapid as at the beginning, and Korede just as willing to cover up her murderous spree. The final part of the book rushes through to a conclusion where it would have benefited from a little more fleshing out of their back story, and indeed a path forward. If nothing and no-one has changed through the course of the book, I'm left wondering why I bothered to read it?
Was this review helpful?
My Sister The Serial Killer is a really quick read about a sister left to clean up the chaos left behind by her murderous Sister. The book opens with a murder that is described so matter of factly that I almost thought it was a joke. The flippancy of the killing leads to a darkly humourous story about the lengths a Sister will go to when protecting their sibling. I really enjoyed the vibe of this along with some well fleshed out characters. A twisted little tale of family love in a twenty first century of throw away friendships and insta love.
Was this review helpful?
I can't say I enjoyed this book as it was different to what I usually read but after a slow start I started to get interested 
The relationship and loyalty between the sisters I suppose could be understandable but why Korede the older sister puts up with Ayoola the younger one is a little too untrue to me 
The ending just appeared and was left flat so disappointing 
Would I rush to read more from this Author no I don't think I would
Was this review helpful?
*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

A great satirical thriller that had me gripped from the first page. It's a lot of fun to read although if you're looking for a high-stakes suspenseful thriller, this one won't be for you - but don't let that turn you off! As someone who devours crime and thriller novels, I requested this based on the title alone and enjoyed the read overall.
Was this review helpful?
This was a quick, entertaining read from the perspective of the sister of a serial killer. I liked the potential that our narrator was unreliable,  but other than that I did feel that the book lacked depth- it was as if there was an extra plot dimension which was missing somehow.
Was this review helpful?
Novella that I wanted to keep going. Dark, deep and diverting.

4.5 stars.

Quite unlike anything I've read before. And I wanted MORE, it was a very short read, though a complete story in itself, it felt like a competition entry that would later be expanded. 

A story of sisters, loyalty and family, it's also the story of a serial killer. Though we never learn of the 'whys', we follow Ayoola's love life through her sister, nurse Korede. Ayoola is the younger sister, beautiful and carefree, popular with men, but it seems has a habit of 'having' to defend herself when they 'attack' her, leaving Korede to clean up her messes. Literally. And as a big sister, Korede feels obliged to protect her.

But when Ayoola arouses the interest of the doctor colleague that Korede has admired from afar for many months, Korede's loyalties are tested - she knows what will happen if she lets events take their course.

Korede tells this story, and our sympathies are with her, though watching her suffer simply for being the oldest and less pretty is hard: "Ayoola is inconsiderate and selfish and reckless, but her welfare is and has always been my responsibility."

My favourite aspect of the book was that Korede, unable to confide her secrets in a friend, talks about them to a patient in a coma. That situation intensifies, of course, bringing a little dark comedy to the tale.

Ayoola remains aloof to the reader, we are never privy to her thoughts - is she a psychopath? Simply unlucky? Relying on her sister? Watching men fall at her feet while ignoring the smart and capable Korede felt frustrating, especially seeing where it might lead them. Men don't feature as strong and smart characters here, they are played by women, which gives this a fresh feel (though I do feel for the men reading this who would not identify with this stereotypical male!).

Intriguing, dark and morbidly funny, it's got a lot to say. And I want a part two!

With thanks to Netgalley for the sample reading copy.
Was this review helpful?
A short funny read about one sister protecting the other. This is a fast paced story with a lot of action packed in. I feel though that there is no real depth to the characters. I did not learn enough about them to be really interested in what happened to them.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
Was this review helpful?
My Sister, the Serial Killer is about 2 sisters living in Nigeria. One is a serial killer and the other one is the person she calls to deal with the body!

This was a really unexpected read for me. It has an unusual storyline and was very well written. Short chapters and the fast pace make it a quick read.

Both sisters grew up under the influence of a violent father. This has left a mark on both girls but in very different ways. 

Ayoola is a unrepentant serial killer. Beautiful and popular but selfish and egotistical, she is used to everyone falling at her feet and doing exactly what she wants. 

Korede is a nurse at the local hospital and is passionate about taking care about her patients. However she is frustratingly passive and is enabling Ayoola’s murderous tendencies. It’s understandable that as the elder of the two girls, she feels obliged to protect her sister, especially as she was unable to do so when their father was alive, however she takes this to the extreme by disposing of the bodies.

I didn’t particularly like either of the sisters and it was clear to see that their behaviour as adults was impacted by their childhood and living with a violent and oppressive father. For me neither of them had any real likeable or redeeming qualities. 

Having said all of that, I was interested in their fate and what would happen next in this crazy story, therefore I would say give this a go especially if you want to read something with an unusual storyline and some morally questionable characters!

3.5 stars ⭐️ 

My Sister, the Serial Killer will be available from January 3rd 2019.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher (Atlantic Books) for providing a copy. All opinions are my own and provides willingly.
Was this review helpful?