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My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite #BookReview

My Sister, the Serial Killer is a blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker – and more difficult to get out of the carpet – than water…

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite book cover

Title: My Sister, the Serial Killer | Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite | Publisher: Grand Central Publishing | Pub. Date: 17 July 2017 | Pages: 226 | ISBN: 9780385544238 | Genre: Thriller | Language: English | Starred Review: No | Source: Self purchased

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My Sister, the Serial Killer Review

‘My Sister, the Serial Killer’ is one of those books that’s hard to pin down. It’s a little bit psychological horror, a little bit crime and a lot of black comedy. It seems to have been getting a lot of attention in the online bookish community and I’m not sure that’s entirely deserved, although I certainly enjoyed reading it.

It tells the story of Korede, a nurse in Nigeria, whose younger sister Ayoola has a habit of killing then men in her life. Family loyalty wins out and Korede protects her sister, helping her to clean up after herself. This continues even when Ayoola starts dating a man Korede is attracted to herself. The title says it all really. It’s wonderfully in your face and attention grabbing; certainly a lot better than the book’s original, rather bland, title ‘Thicker Than Water’.

Author Oyinkan Braithwaite does a lot right. The book is easy to read, well-paced, darkly humorous and exciting. As the plot progresses the suspense mounts appreciably and I found that the pages flew by. It helps that heroine Korede is so likeable, despite her criminal activities. There’s a great tension between her need to look after her sister and her desire to do the right thing and protect those around her from harm. The book also provides interesting detail on modern Nigerian life. Learning about a culture I know little about was a bonus on top of the fun read.

Unfortunately, the book lacks a certain something. As enjoyable as it was to read, I found myself finishing it with a bit of a “so what” feeling. For me there were two problems. Firstly, it never really explores the horror of Ayoola’s crimes. Secondly, the author never fully gets to grips with all of the themes at play in the book. There is a back story twist towards the end that helps explain the sisters’ actions, but it feels more like a plot device than the statement it might have been.

It’s hard not to recommend a book that’s as engaging as this one, but I can’t help feeling it could have had more impact.  

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inThriller Book ReviewsUnstarred Reviews


  1. Hmm, I agree with your critique on this one. I couldn’t quite identify why I felt annoyed when I was done. I blamed Korede for how she falls back under her sister’s spell despite trying to break away. I thought the struggle to break away was pointless when she so easily fell back into the role she started in at the beginning.

  2. I quite like it, but it’s been a while since I read it.

    • Olly_C

      Yeah, me too. I found it very readable but kind of forgettable.

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