Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer

'How was your trip?'
'It was fine...except...he died.'

I mean, why would I not end the festive season by reading a book about a serial killer?

I remember when I first started watching Dexter, thinking 'there's no way this show is going to be a thing for me' and then binge watching like a pro; I think there's something inherently fascinating about the mind of somebody like him, or like Ayoola in this book - I find myself disturbed but nonetheless curious. Not that this book is disturbing - less so actually then Dexter was. It's just a really good read.

I mean it: this book though guys, this book. I absolutely tore through it, I couldn't put it down and if real life hadn't been a thing then I'm pretty sure I would have read it in a day. It's good.

It was published on January 3rd and it's the story of a Nigerian woman (the book is set in Lagos) whose sister keeps killing her boyfriends. Basically.

WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE - part satire, part thriller, darkly funny and at times incredibly poignant, I am so glad I started my year off with this book.

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

It is I suppose, at its heart, a story of familial obligation - of unconditional love; I was thinking whilst reading it - what would I do if my brother called me up in a panic because he'd killed his girlfriend?

Let's be honest here: my instinct would be to help him.

I mean I'd be the last person he should ring because I have no idea how to get rid of blood from carpet, I couldn't fit a body in the boot of my little car and I am incredibly prone to nervous laughter, but still - I think I'd feel obligated to help him in some way because he's my brother, and that's what this book is about. When Korede gets a tearful phonecall from her sister saying I killed him, what is she supposed to do?

It's about that, and also kind of about the way women are pitted against one another and how often people don't see beyond the surface -  how much easier it is to get by if you're beautiful, how, as the book says, you so often get a free pass, and then also how we use social media; the use of Snapchat and Instagram is so interesting here, and very reflective of life - this book is a clever and relevant social commentary and I loved it.

Also it made me laugh. I like books that make me laugh and also make me think.

“You’re not the only one suffering, you know. You act like you are carrying this big thing all by yourself, but I worry too.” “Do you? ’Cause the other day, you were singing ‘I Believe I Can Fly.’ ” Ayoola shrugs. “It’s a good song.”

It's a short book, but it gets under your skin. I swear, I was so hooked and so intrigued and that's really funny because I actually I don't think I particularly liked anybody; whilst you kind of get a glimpse into why Ayoola might be a murdering sociopath, you still don't really like her (she's a  bit of a dick) and whilst you kind of understand why Korede might have found herself drawn into this murderous web her sister is weaving (see above re familial obligation) you still kind of want to shake her a little bit because STAND UP FOR YOURSELF A LITTLE BIT KOREDE OH MY GOD and also stop being so whiny if you please. That's not to say they're not deliciously well-developed characters - they absolutely are - this book is stunningly written - they're just not likeable and honestly, I really loved that; I loved being so invested in this story about these people I wouldn't really want to be friends with (and I know,  of course I wouldn't because serial killer, but that's not the point....)

This is such a strong debut,  it's short, it packs a punch and the ending is works.  I am so impressed and honestly: 10/10 would read again.