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My Sister, the Serial Killer

A Novel
Written by: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Narrated by: Adepero Oduye
Length: 4 hrs and 15 mins
Categories: Comedy, Satire
4 out of 5 stars (48 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“Pulpy, peppery and sinister, served up in a comic deadpan…This scorpion-tailed little thriller leaves a response, and a sting, you will remember.” –NEW YORK TIMES

“The wittiest and most fun murder party you’ve ever been invited to.” –MARIE CLAIRE

WINNER OF THE LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR MYSTERY/THRILLER
FINALIST FOR THE 2019 WOMEN’S PRIZE

A short, darkly funny, hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead.

Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.

Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.

©2018 Oyinkan Braithwaite (P)2018 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"Braithwaite's debut is written in quick, economical chapters that brilliantly render the setting.... A darkly, darkly funny novel.... It strips away the romanticism of the complicated sisterly relationship but perfectly illustrates its complicated contradictions." (Booklist)

"Who is more dangerous? A femme fatale murderess or the quiet, plain woman who cleans up her messes? In My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite answers that question with an original and compelling debut. I never knew what was going to happen, but found myself pulling for both sisters, as I relished the creepiness and humor of this modern noir." (Helen Ellis, New York Times best-selling author of American Housewife)

"Disturbing, sly and delicious, Braithwaite's novel compels us to consider the limits of loyalty and the insidious weight of silence." (Ayobami Adebayo, author of Stay with Me)

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Riveting but Maddening

I loved the writing style, the premise and the characters. I also found the setting and the world captivating, as was the complexity of the sisters' relationship. But oh, did I want to scream at the narrator much more than once. She is at once completely self-aware and intelligent but so emotionally entwined with her sociopathic sister that it is challenging to stay with her. The self-destruction is utterly crazy-making. I would recommend it for the writing and the world that Braithwaite creates but try not to scream as you listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Story was just okay

The climax did not really meet the slow build of the plot. Just felt like it sort of fizzled out at the end. Well read though.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Easy and engaging listening

Interesting read, it kept me engaged, the narrator's voice was dreamy and almost soothing.

I liked the ending. This book isn't about the murders themselves - it's about how the protagonist navigates her sister's murders, their solidarity rooted in shared family trauma and misogyny, and how the protagonist's attitudes about the murders develop over time. In my opinion, the ending is resolved - the protagonist's actions show that she's made a final choice! The inner ambivalence and internal conflict present throughout the novel becomes resolved. It makes you think about why the protagonist might have made the choice that she did.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dee
  • 2018-11-24

A unique and enjoyable listen!

I pre-ordered this book and was very excited to settle into the listen. It was as advertised!

The quirky writing lent itself to the quirky main character, Ayoola (eye-oh-lah). Ayoola had the tendency to dispense with her love interests using a knife inherited from her father, who, as it happens, was a piece of work in his own right. I didn't like Ayoola much.

I guess you shouldn't like serial killers but, as was the case with Dexter, some serial killers can have redeeming qualities. Ayoola did not.

Ayoola's sister Korede (core-ah-dee) was the quintessential, albeit reluctant, 'clean-up man'. Now Korede I did like!!

The dynamic between the two sisters is the backdrop for the story (and the killings.) The story was dark but it was also weird and unique. I finished it in one sitting.

The narrator was excellent, in every sense of the word! Her voice and cadence merged expertly with the written word and the story just came to life.

The title and the opening sequence is basically a tell-all so this is not a mystery. The enjoyment in this listen is more subtle and may not be for everyone. I loved it!!

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • LexiLikesLiterature
  • 2019-02-13

Honestly, the title pulled me in

This is one of the novels that make you wanna say Hmmm. As stated in the summary, this book is about two sisters and one has a tendency of killing her lovers. The older sister feels an extreme desire to protect her baby sister, which ultimately means covering up her crimes.

This isn't at all suspenseful or a thriller. It's more of a family drama novel that involves some side stories with dudes dying. So if you are looking for a John Grisham or even Dexter type murder mystery then you won't get those types of stories with this one.

If you are interested in sisterly live and disagreements with a side of deadly drama, then this is more up that type of alley.

The novel is broken into about 75 small chapters that are about a 2 to 3 minutes a piece. I'm a bit curious about the Chapter Titles, they are simple but I wonder if there was a strategy there or just a quick choice.

As we learn more about the two sisters and their not-so-easy childhood, you come to understand how the youngest could become interested in such brutal hobbies.

Even with this being such a short novel, the pace of the book is slow. Since the story is told from the older sisters point of view (POV) then as a reader, we are not witnesses to the actual crimes. I think that takes a bit of excitement out of the book.

The novel isn't very fluid. You get bits and pieces the present and past and not always in sequential order. It isn't hard to follow but I can see some readers being turned off by it.

The younger sister comes across as immature and a bit socially underdeveloped even with the constant social media use. This makes her even scarier. She is a childish serial killer... the horror.

I'm curious about some of the gender inequalities and corruption brought up in this book. This seems to be written in the present as it mentions Snapchat and Instagram several times, but can African cities still be this blatantly corrupt? Not saying American politicians and police are all perfect, but I hope that this is more of an artistic exxegeration. Either way, it is a bit chilling to see young women forced into marriages and other such arrangements.

2 Stars 🌟🌟- Decent. Has Potential. Possibly a good idea for a story but something could have been better. Sometimes it's because the author put too little or too much into the wrong parts of the story. New authors sometimes fall in this ranking and move up as their series progresses. Doesn't mean I hated it. Just means it was missing something to push it over the hump.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Celeste Faison
  • 2019-01-04

The narrator is dry and you miss the humor

it's a really funny book but you wouldn't know listening to the melancholy monotoned narrator.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • D. Alexander
  • 2018-12-26

That’s it?!!!

The story was OK, it kept me engaged. The only reason I lowered the rating is due to the ending. The ending of the story was so abrupt, it was as if the author did not finish the last chapter. So now the readers are left hanging and wondering about the last conversation, but not in a way that most books do to give you a hint into the future. It was just like, “Ms. X walks into the room with her family. The end.” My initial thought was, quote wait, did I just get a bad copy of the audiobook. Or is there a part two that I didn’t download?”

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tijuana
  • 2018-11-25

Great, Quick Read

This was a good relaxing read about how one sister’s love protects another while jealousy is still present in their relationship.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lara Weinheimer
  • 2018-11-23

Lyrical prose of death and sisterly love

Beautifully written and terribly disturbing. This book is really a poem about life and death and the people who bring us each: mothers and fathers, nurses and doctors, and murderers. Korede must choose what she will become, who she will support; her serial killer of a sister or the rest of the world. She will have to choose between herself and her sister, and the cost of either choice is high.

This was a truly exceptional noir novel set in Nigeria, with its strong patriarchal rules. Each chapter in a peek into Korede's life, both now and when she was a child. These chapters form a well rounded and flawed person who is trying to figure out her place in the world.

Finally the narration was superb, as lyrical as the prose. I will gladly listen to any of her other works.

Definitely worth the credit.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • K
  • 2019-01-18

I Really Tried

I listened to the entire book. I kept believing that something would happen. I was looking for anything that would help me care about these characters. Predictable and wholly unenjoyable.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa Wheeler
  • 2018-11-26

Interesting story and amazing narration

I totally enjoyed this book. The narrator really made the characters come alive. I love coming upon unique books and this is one. Although the book's title tells you what the book is about; it's also about family, especially inherited and assumed roles that can be a burden. The book's subject matter is dark but there are also lots of darkly comedic moments. After I started listening to this book, I couldn't pick up a magazine without reading a great review of the book and was excited to hear that it has been optioned for a film. I will go to see it and hope it does this book justice

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Toni Diane
  • 2019-01-17

Great Story, Bad Ending

I really enjoyed the story but I didn't care for the ending. It felt very unresolved.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jmede
  • 2019-01-19

Thoroughly enjoyable!

This book was great read - murder
with humor. I needed a break from some of the heavier murder/psychological thrillers I’ve been reading and this was the perfect fit. The main character is likable and as the story unfolds, we begin to follow her reasoning. The narrator was perfect too.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful