Who do you think is scarier? A cold-blooded murderer, or the murderer’s calm, calculating sister who cleans up the murderer’s messes? My Sister, the Serial Killer forces us to ponder this question through author Oyinkan Braithwaite’s brisk and witty noir-like novel.
Older sister Korede (the steady, responsible one) has always felt obligated to watch out for younger sister Ayoola (the pretty and flighty one) since they were young. While in youth this meant protecting Ayoola from their abusive father, as adults it now means protecting Ayoola from herself and her habit of murdering boyfriends. As the story opens, Ayoola has just killed for the third time (supposedly in self-defense) and is calling Korede to help. Luckily for Ayoola, Korede is a genius at cleaning, knowing what types of solutions are needed to get out particular stains while being calm and diligent enough to do a thorough cleaning.
Korede’s morality and loyalty to her sister is tested when Ayoola begins dating Korede’s coworker and unrequited crush Tade. Can she continue to cover up for someone she loves when that person might murder the man that she loves? Rounding out the story are the characters with whom Korede works, the unethical police she encounters and flashbacks to Korede and Ayoola’s terrifying father. With a patient in a coma to whom Korede tells everything (which is obviously not a good idea), parts of My Sister border on the unbelievable but Braithwaite’s compact prose manages to keep the story from slipping completely into that territory.
I couldn’t put this down once I started. Each chapter is short but sharp making the novel fly by and a whole evening was gone before I knew it. Despite its brevity, I will be thinking about these two sisters for a long time.