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Library Journal Review
DEBUT Nigerian nurse Korede's younger sister Ayoola has a bad habit of killing her boyfriends and relying on Korede's practicality and knack for cleaning to dispose of the bodies. Ayoola is the family's "golden child"-beautiful, charming, spoiled, and quite possibly a sociopath. Someone with whom plain, responsible Korede can never hope to compete. But when Ayoola sets her sights on a handsome doctor Korede just happens to adore, Korede must make a choice. Can she save the man she loves and still keep her sister's secrets? Narrated at times with an almost clinical detachment, Braithwaite's debut takes the unusual position of looking not at the mind of a serial killer or at her victims, but at the ethical dilemmas faced by the killer's family -members. Many readers will relate to Korede's overlooked, underappreciated role, as she struggles to find her own way in the shadow of a more attractive, better-loved sibling. VERDICT A portrait of a dysfunctional family at its finest, this novel shows just how far one woman will go to keep her family safe, even if it costs her everything. [See Prepub Alert, 5/21/18; "Editors' Fall Picks," LJ 8/18.]-Elisabeth Clark, West Florida P.L., -Pensacola © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Braithwaite's blazing debut is as sharp as the knife that twists in the chest of Femi, the now-dead boyfriend of Ayoola, whose boyfriends, curiously, seem to keep winding up dead in her presence. Femi makes dead boyfriend number three-each were killed in self-defense, according to Ayoola-and, per usual, Ayoola's older sister, Korede, is called upon to help dispose of the body. The only confidante Korede has is a coma patient at the Lagos hospital where she works, which is the only place she can go to escape Ayoola. It is also where she can see the man she loves, a handsome and thoughtful doctor named Tade. Of course, this means that when the capricious Ayoola decides to start visiting her sister at work, she takes notice of him, and him of her. This is the last straw for Korede, who realizes she is both the only person who understands how dangerous her sister is and the only person who can intervene before her beloved Tade gets hurt, or worse. Interwoven with Korede, Ayoola, and Tade's love triangle is the story of Korede and Ayoola's upbringing, which is shadowed by the memory of their father, a cruel man who met a tragic and accidental death-or did he? As Korede notes when she considers her own culpability in her sister's temperament: "His blood is my blood and my blood is hers." 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. (Nov.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Ayoola is beautiful, charismatic, and popular, everything her long-suffering older sister, Korede, is not. Ayoola is also a killer, and Korede is growing used to literally cleaning up her messes when Ayoola ends her relationships with their father's ceremonial knife. Korede's life has few pleasures, but she looks forward to her nursing shifts at the hospital where she can be near the handsome Dr. Tade Otumu. Then Tade meets Ayoola and falls under her spell. Braithwaite's debut is written in quick, economical chapters that brilliantly render the setting: the crowded streets of Lagos, St. Peter's hospital, the languid heat on Korede and Ayoola's family estate. This is a darkly, darkly funny novel for example, Ayoola invites Tade over to play Cluedo just weeks after the sisters were bleaching bathroom tiles and dumping a body in the river. It strips away the romanticism of the complicated sisterly relationship but perfectly illustrates its complicated contradictions: Korede cannot stand Ayoola, but she would do anything for her.--Susan Maguire Copyright 2018 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
From the hospital rooms and living spaces of Lagos, Nigeria, comes a dryly funny and wickedly crafty exercise in psychological suspense.Introverted, sensitive Korede is a nurse, a very good one from what we see of her at work. She feels such a connection with her patients that she finds herself taking a coma victim named Muhtar into her confidence. There's one secret in particular that pours out of Korede like scalding liquid: Her flamboyantly beautiful younger sister, Ayoola, has this habit of killing the men she dates. (Three, so far.) She hasn't been caught yet because Korede cleans up after her. They both disposed of the most recent victim, a poet named Femi, so efficiently that nobody in his family or with the police know his whereabouts. So that, as Korede is concerned, is that; except there's this single good-looking doctor named Tade at the hospital where she works who has his eye on Ayoolaeven though Korede has tried her best to win Tade's attention. Now she tries to warn Tade that her sister's relationships "tend to end, badly." His response: "Ohguys can be jerks." (Yes, they certainly can.) As Tade and Ayoola begin their romance, Korede's the one who has to answer questions about Femi's disappearance, and, seemingly out of nowhere, Ayoola acquires yet another suitor named Gboyega, prompting both Korede and the reader to wonder which of these unwary gentlemen Ayoola will favor and what will happen to him. Generations of gothic mystery aficionados have attended these uneasy and insidious events before. 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 and the appealing deadpan voice of the jittery yet world-weary Korede. Along the way, there are scattered glimpses of life in Lagos, most acidly when Korede deals with the routine corruption involved in a traffic stop.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. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.