Short Take: “My Sister, The Serial Killer,” Oyinkan Braithwaite

Pros: So totally engrossing!
Rating: 5 out of 5

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s short novel My Sister, the Serial Killer is such a fun read! Older sister Korede is a nurse at a hospital in Lagos. She’s in love with Tade, a doctor she works with, but she’s plain and gets overlooked by everyone. Her younger sister Ayoola is the pampered princess, able to attract pretty much any man she wants. And she sets her sights on Tade. First, though, Korede has to help Ayoola clean up after her last relationship–which means dumping the body of her previous boyfriend off of a bridge and scouring his flat clean. Just one big, glaring problem: this is the third boyfriend Ayoola has killed. The self-defense argument is wearing a little thin. And well, you know, once you hit three they label you a serial killer. Will Korede save Tade from her predatory sister? Will she continue to protect Ayoola?

The sense of place in this book is incredible. Lagos is fascinating, with its heat and its traffic and its corrupt police. The characters are similarly wonderful. As we learn more about Korede and Ayoola’s dead father, more details about the sisters start to make sense–especially Korede’s drive to protect Ayoola even as she resents her. She tries several times to warn off Tade, but Ayoola has made sure Tade believes that Korede is just jealous of her. She’s going to have to be more explicit if she wants to save him. Ayoola and Korede’s mother is so desperate to see the beautiful Ayoola married that she even lies to Tade and pretends Korede’s cooking is Ayoola’s.

The story is fascinating and engrossing. Korede and Ayoola’s family life is intriguing. Even the hospital where Korede is a nurse is its own universe, with a handful of forceful characters. I absolutely recommend this book to readers of all kinds.

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