My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Published by Doubleday, 2018
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Put simply, this sort-of-thriller is a fun, fast read, with a pleasing dash of the macabre. The story opens with Korede, whose sister, Ayoola, has come to her for help. Help, that is, getting rid of her boyfriend’s body. Though Ayoola claims she killed him in self-defence, this is the third of her partners to die under suspicious circumstances. Familial love pushes Korede to act, but her evidently dangerous sister soon sets her sights on the man she secretly harbours feelings for. With someone she cares about at risk of becoming her sister’s next victim, the strength of her loyalty is put to the test.
People who pick this up expecting a full-blown thriller will likely be left disappointed. The shocks, twists, and core element of mystery that normally underpin the genre are more-or-less absent here. Instead, this serves much better as a character study of two fascinating women, exploring the limits of sisterhood, the duty of family, what it takes to make a murderer, and if such a crime can ever be justified.
The prose itself is very simple, but it propels the story forward at a gripping pace. I also really liked the way social media was implemented into the story. Its inclusion can feel forced in many contemporary reads, but here it felt natural, and allowed Braithwaite to bring a satirical edge to the narrative. In a similar vein, it has to be said that she implements a couple of tropes, but she does so in an often blackly funny way, once again adding a touch of wit, and allowing for some social commentary; particularly with regards to the weight society puts on physical beauty.
In terms of emotional development, things could definitely have delved deeper, but I absolutely flew through the book, and I can easily see it being one of the most accessible and commercially popular offerings from the Women’s Prize longlist.
You can pick up a copy of My Sister, the Serial Killer from Book Depository by clicking here. If you’ve already read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!