Braithwaite writes in a rat-a-tat style that forces the plot along at a clip ... My Sister, the Serial Killer is a bombshell of a book — sharp, explosive, hilarious. With a deadly aim, Braithwaite lobs jokes, japes and screwball comedy at the reader. Only after you turn the last page do you realize that, as with many brilliant comic writers before her, laughter for Braithwaite is as good for covering up pain as bleach is for masking the smell of blood.
Ayoola — lovely, dopey, incorrigibly murderous — is the chaos at the heart of My Sister, the Serial Killer, a much-anticipated first novel from the Nigerian writer Oyinkan Braithwaite ... The chapters are brisk... The narration is clean and efficient; the characters lightly sketched. Psychologizing is kept to a minimum. There are a few tiresome genre tropes... But this book is, above all, built to move, to hurtle forward — and it does so, dizzyingly ... There’s a seditious pleasure in its momentum. At a time when there are such wholesome and dull claims on fiction — on its duty to ennoble or train us in empathy — there’s a relief in encountering a novel faithful to art’s first imperative: to catch and keep our attention.
Oyinkan Braithwaite’s rich, dark debut about Korede, a dutiful Nigerian nurse, and her sociopathic younger sister is more nuanced than its title might suggest ... Though this isn’t a whodunit, My Sister, The Serial Killer is a riveting story with a handful of well-timed twists, mixed with laugh-out loud observations about family, co-workers, and corrupt cops. Braithwaite doesn’t mock the murders as comic fodder, and that’s just one of the unexpected pleasures of her quirky novel. What could have been a series of grisly murders and dead-boyfriend punch lines is instead a clever, affecting examination of siblings bound by a secret with a body count.
... a playful yet affecting examination of sibling rivalry, the legacy of abuse and the shallow sexism of Nigeria’s patriarchal society ... Braithwaite generates a lot of humor out of the disparity between Korede’s and Ayoola’s appearances ... twisty, satisfying ... In its darkly comic depiction of two women teaming up against the powerful, abusive men in their lives, My Sister the Serial Killer feels like an ideal book for the present moment.
... darkly compelling ... This is expert storytelling ... All this ratcheted, externalized tension and pathos makes it easy to imagine a film version of the novel, but to suggest that the story is merely an elaborate screenplay diminishes what Braithwaite has accomplished here. The prose is as deft, personal, and economic as it is evocative ... There’s a compelling intimacy to the writer’s style, a sense that Korede is taking you into her confidence, almost whispering her confessions into your ear ... [Braithwaite] combines the comparatively lighter tropes of Jane Austen with a dark tale of murder, familial complication, and moral compromise, and thereby redefines both tropes for a new generation.
You could read My Sister, The Serial Killer in an afternoon. Braithwaite’s writing pulses with the fast, slick heartbeat of a YA thriller, cut through by a dry noir wit ... Braithwaite’s portrait of Lagos, with its seedy corruption and choking traffic and rigid family norms, makes that search for identity feel even more stifled, more predetermined. It is a portrait in pain, but also in a dark kind of humor.
My Sister, the Serial Killer uses a familiar but irresistible formula: Give us a killer chasing a sympathetic character, make the writing plain so style doesn't get in the way, add some beauty and the threat of blood, and most of us are snared ... There is plenty of Lady Macbeth-style scrubbing and a heavy-handed game of Clue with the presumptive next victim. But Braithwaite is at her best when she restrains these flamboyant impulses, and hews to vicious, delicious deadpan.
My Sister, The Serial Killer is like a stiletto slipped between the ribs and through the left ventricle of the heart — precise, sure of its aim, and deadly in its effect ... Nigerian novelist Oyinkan Braithwaite’s glittering and funny crime fiction debut set in Lagos is a quick, slick read ... Braithwaite grips you with her razor-sharp understanding of the twisted knot of family legacies and blood ties ... Strictly as a crime thriller, My Sister, The Serial Killer doesn’t hold up to a close first reading... But the real darkness and tension in My Sister, The Serial Killer, comes from the dance within the family, the love-hate, protector-betrayer relationship between these two siblings ... Braithwaite leaves the reader wondering which of these two sisters is more damaged: the killer, or the killer’s faithful rescuer.
With My Sister, The Serial Killer, debut novelist Oyinkan Braithwaite has crafted a refreshingly original story, evocative of the best psychological thrillers ... The novel is propelled by Braithwaite’s energetic, fast-paced prose and self-aware, modern voice, carried with buoyancy and lightness. Braithwaite revels in placing relatable, familiar characters in unexpected situations ... While My Sister, The Serial Killer is a bit thin at times—a wider scope in its world-building, characterization, and action would not have been unwelcome—an argument can be made for the structural and thematic claustrophobia created by the intensity of its focus ... My Sister, The Serial Killer is a smart thriller that reckons with age-old questions of family, loyalty, and desire.
Set in an upper-middle-class neighborhood in Lagos, Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer is a showstopper in many ways — a no-nonsense one with a wicked sense of humor ... But from here on, as cleverly as the narrative unfolds, it relies too heavily on the all too familiar tropes of morality tales ... Along with Braithwaite's terse and efficient prose, the novel's uniqueness hinges on the nuances in the relationship between the two sisters ... this is a book to be enjoyed on its own terms.
My Sister the Serial Killer stretches the imagination, makes unbelievable events plausible, and lures the reader into a fascinating world ... Braithwaite has a deceptively simple writing technique. The chapters are short—often only one and a half pages—the sentences are unadorned and straightforward. But Braithwaite has the ability to interject the unexpected and interpolate the tension.
My Sister, the Serial Killer is a darkly comic novel, one with a narrator whose complicated emotions simmer just below the surface of her completely deadpan delivery. Oyinkan Braithwaite lays out her debut in short chapters and exquisitely drawn scenes, offering just enough of a glimpse into the young women’s present states and past histories to piece together at least some of their motivations ... At the end of the day, My Sister, the Serial Killer is at its heart an entertaining novel, by turns funny and suspenseful, while also demonstrating its author’s skillful hand at character development, in the way Korede narrates both her own story and that of her sister.
My Sister, The Serial Killer is a high-tension, hideously comedic work of literary horror fiction, a memorable debut from Nigerian writer Oyinkan Braithwaite ... The mundane realism of the text—social media, crooked traffic cops, the dichotomy of being wealthy enough for a house maid but not enough to avoid working—makes the ethical questions of murder, consequences, and justification for protecting a family member that much sharper ... Braithwaite forces you to do the legwork of her fine, artisanal prose, feel the distress she’s created via tangling sympathy and disgust and morality into a mangled ball. It’s a hell of a debut, that’s for certain.
Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel nimbly works [traditional horror genre] conventions to provide a searing and often witty portrait of sibling rivalry and the brutal legacy of Nigerian patriarchal mores ... Written in a sparse but lyrical style, My Sister, the Serial Killer is an assured debut, haunting and strangely beautiful.
With a title like that, you expect a belter of an opening, and Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel doesn’t disappoint ... By the final chapters, the book has so much going on that it becomes difficult to tell how the various storylines are intertwining. It all adds up to a distinctive but uneasy mix of morbid humour, love story, slashfest, family saga and grave meditation on how abusive behaviour is passed down through the generations. The real joy lies in the characters ... The pair of them outshine their story, which ultimately tries to do too much and so never quite delivers on the promise of its audacious conceit.
My Sister, the Serial Killer is a short, sharp debut novel ... Beauty is a beast in this sly, absurd take on the black widow trope. Braithwaite's greatest trick lies in keeping the sisterly relationship believable, with Korede constantly scoffing in disbelief at Ayoola's shallowness and lack of common sense, yet always rushing in to tidy her sister's messes. While the serial killer plot device suggests the horror genre, My Sister, the Serial Killer has frequent overtones of dark comedy brought on by Ayoola's naïveté and lack of remorse ... This short chiller comes with a surprising bite and a reminder never to underestimate a pretty face—or a plain one.
Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer is a showstopper in many ways a no-nonsense one with a wicked sense of humor ... as cleverly as the narrative unfolds, it relies too heavily on the all too familiar tropes of morality tales ... this is a book to be enjoyed on its own terms. Take it or leave it thats exactly how Korede, the smart and straight-shooting narrator, prefers it.
...a dryly funny and wickedly crafty exercise in psychological suspense ... But besides the setting, what makes Braithwaite’s first novel stand out from others in this genre is the unobtrusively sly approach she takes to the conventions of 'black widow' storytelling ... Even your most extravagant speculations about what’s really going on with these wildly contrasting yet oddly simpatico siblings will be trumped in this skillful, sardonic debut.
Braithwaite’s blazing debut is as sharp as the knife that twists in the chest ... The reveal at the end isn’t so much a 'gotcha' moment as the dawning of an inevitable, creeping feeling that Braithwaite expertly crafts over the course of the novel. This is both bitingly funny and brilliantly executed, with not a single word out of place.