My Tournament of Books reading continues with a dark and twisted and really enjoyable crime novel by Oyinkan Braithwaite. It doesn’t surpass Washington Black or So Lucky as top contenders, but it’s near the top, alongside Milkman.
The narrator of My Sister, the Serial Killer is a nurse named Korede, and her sister, Ayoola, is indeed a serial killer. As the book begins, Ayoola has just summoned Korede to help her clean up and dispose of the body after her third kill. In each case, she claims she was being attacked and had to defend herself. By the third time, Korede is having her doubts.
It doesn’t help that Ayoola is absolutely gorgeous and finds it easy to win men’s affections and convince both men and women to do what she wants, while Korede has to work hard to get any sort of attention or respect — or at least that’s how Korede feels. Ayoola has experienced her own suffering, and Korede knows that. It’s probably one of the reasons she’s so quick to protect her.
The situation becomes complicated when Ayoola meets Tade, a handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works. Korede has been secretly in love with Tade for some time, but her hopes are dashed when Tade becomes instantly smitten with Ayoola. Korede is now worried for Tade, and also more than a little resentful of Ayoola.
The book moves quickly, in short chapters, always in Korede’s head. There are some flashbacks to past killings and past trauma. And a picture And while the book provides reasons for Ayoola’s violence and Korede’s loyalty, as well as her resentment, it doesn’t excuse either woman. They are doing bad things, for psychologically comprehensible reasons.
The plot gets more complex as it goes, and by the end, Korede’s situation is looking even more untenable. Yet there’s a sense of patterns continuing, always.