MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite

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From the publisher:

WINNER OF THE LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR MYSTERY/THRILLER
FINALIST FOR THE 2019 WOMEN’S PRIZE

A 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.

Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.

Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.


If you are in the mood for a dark, twisted, super fun read then this is your book! My son actually recommended it to me, which doesn’t happen often (it’s usually the other way around.) So I had it in my to-be-read pile for a while, waiting for the mood to strike. Then I got an email from the publisher, asking if I would cover the paperback release and that was the impetus for me to finally sit down and read this.

It is a very fast read as it is a very short book. Don’t let that dissuade you, though, it is an excellent debut, full of great characters and a nuanced plot. It was rather shocking to me that this was a debut, you usually don’t see such tight plotting in a first novel. I love the way it was written, sort of report like, and the deft touch of black comedy really sings. At times it is a bit gruesome but never gratuitously so, especially considering the title and subject matter.

My son read this for a book discussion, which I thought was a pretty smart choice, it is an unusual pick for sure but there is definitely material to be discussed here. I often read books this short and complain about holes in the plot or lack of character development, so I am delighted to say that this is one of the best debuts I’ve read in a while. Grab the paperback or Kindle or listen to it on Audible, but don’t miss it. It has been optioned for a film by a London production company and I read this in Deadline: “The debut novel of Nigerian writer Oyinkan Braithwaite follows a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has an inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.” An inconvenient habit, indeed.

7/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite. Anchor; Reprint edition (July 30, 2019).  ISBN 978-0525564201.  240p.

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