My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Oyinkan Braithwaite's debut is a comically clever tale of sisterly dynamics
“Three and they label you a serial killer.” To most, this is a fact; to Ayoola, it’s a warning.
Ayoola is the favourite child, life’s opportunities seem to fall at her feet; she’s also killed three boyfriends in a row. Korede is cleaning up after her messes, literally and metaphorically. Whether it’s her familiarity with the intricacies of bleach, or stopping Ayoola posting joyously on Instagram when she should have a public face of mourning, protecting her sister – despite her own feelings – always bubbles to the surface.
That is until her sibling’s focus switches to the object of Korede’s own affections. When he asks for Ayoola’s number, the question is on the horizon: Who will she stand by? And could he be number four?
At a glance, lends itself to a high-paced thriller; instead, the serial killing is almost a background detail in Braithwaite’s expertly woven tale of sisterly dynamics. It nestles in on loyalty, and how far people would go – often without question – to protect their own blood.
My Sister, the Serial Killer is sharp and witty; Braithwaite’s writing is so deadpan, her murderous star so blasé and unphased by the blood on her hands, that it’s unsettling in its precision. There’s no breathing room in her writing to get comfortable, even as dry laughs escape. A comically clever and exciting debut.
Atlantic Books, out now, £12.99