A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, February 7, 2019

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite- Feature and Review


When Korede's dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what's expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This'll be the third boyfriend Ayoola's dispatched in "self-defence" and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating a doctor at the hospital where Korede works as a nurse. Korede's long been in love with him, and isn't prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other...



My Sister, the Serial KillerMy Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is a 2018 Doubleday Books publication.


That provocative title and amazing cover art certainly piques one's curiosity. Noticing all the positive reactions the book received, I just had to see for myself if it was worth all the kudos.

Well, I have to say, this is my kind of book!! Seriously, I really, really, really love satire and dark humor. I do understand it is often an acquired taste, but it takes a special kind of creativity and balance to pull it off. Dark humor and satire are often very subtle and if you aren’t in on the joke, it can sail right over your head. It requires a little more effort, from the reader, too, on occasion, and that is the case with this book.

Family is supposed to help one another out, right?

Set in Nigeria, amid a corrupt system of law and order, Korede is forever coming to the aid of her beautiful, but kooky, younger sister, Ayoola, who has a bad habit of killing her boyfriends. She always claims self-defense, but she’s never injured, and her conscience never seems to suffer.

Korede, is a borderline, antisocial nurse, more comfortable around her comatose patient, to whom she bears her soul, than with anyone else. She has a crush on Tade, a doctor she works closely with. However, when Ayoola shows up at the hospital to visit her sister, Tade is immediately smitten with her. So, not only is Korede hurt emotionally, with her sister’s history with men to consider, this development is quite troubling.

Deep down, Korede is angry, jealous of her beautiful, favored sister, but she always comes to her rescue. Ayoola is self-absorbed, flaunting her beauty, and appears not to notice the stress and strain she causes Korede.

Both sisters are flawed, with abominable character traits, but at the same time, they both managed to, inconceivably, elicit sympathy from me. The author creates a unique brand of suspense, an ever- present sense of dread, while toying with the readers' emotions. The social commentary could be at the core of the story, perhaps playing a key role in the sisters’ pathos.

“I cannot imagine her resorting to stabbing if that particular knife were not in her hand; almost as if it were the knife and not her that was doing the killing. But then, is that so hard to believe? Who is to say that an object does not come with its own agenda? Or that the collective agenda of its previous owners does not direct its purpose still?”

There’s much to ponder on in this amazing debut novel. Kordede’s stoic inner thoughts stole the show for me, though. The story is meant to be dark, meant to be taken seriously, but so sardonic, it is morbidly funny at times.

But, one thing is for certain, this author has done an incredible job creating these wickedly entertaining characters, adding rich layers to the story, while keeping the prose pointed and sharp, even minimal, and still manages to add the rarity of humor into the mix with perfect balance and poise. I simply could not tear my eyes off the pages. It is also a rarity for me to say I liked a book better than I thought I would, but this one caught me completely off guard.

Overall, I am mightily impressed with this stunning, but unsettling debut, and yes, it deserves the kudos





OYINKAN BRAITHWAITE is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo, a Nigerian publishing house, and has been freelancing as a writer and editor since. In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top-ten spoken-word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam, and in 2016 she was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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