In what has to be among the most tone-deaf moves in the history of literature, JK Rowling has announced a new novel about a male murderer who dresses as a woman to lure his victims.
The book announcement comes just weeks after Rowling had dropped from the news following a round of tweets many found transphobic and a subsequent essay in which she defended the tweets.
Unsurprisingly, the announcement has drawn extensive criticism.
JK Rowling's latest book is about a murderous cis man who dresses as a woman to kill his victims https://t.co/LfryjntLzk— PinkNews (@PinkNews) 1600096080.0
The book, entitled Troubled Blood, is the fifth in Rowling's Cormoran Strike series, which she writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
It centers on an investigation into a so-called "cold case" in which a woman who disappeared in 1974 is believed to be the victim of a cisgender male serial killer who dresses up like a woman. An early review characterized the book as one "whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress."
Previous books in the series have been condemned for their transphobic elements, most notable the second in the series, The Silkworm, which includes a trans woman character, Pippa, who is described as "unstable and aggressive," who stalks and attempts to murder another character.
In a scene in which Pippa is apprehended by detectives, Pippa is outed as trans and her dead name is used. Rowling also describes the character's Adam's apple and hands, and has a character warn Pippa that prison will be particularly unpleasant for her because she is "pre-op."
The book was decried by trans activists at the time, including trans journalist Katelyn Burns, who reviewed the book in 2018.
"It's an entirely common though insulting trope about trans women--that they are aggressive and unable to overcome their masculine nature, not to mention villainous--that has become all too common from cisgender authors with only a passing knowledge of trans people."
In his early review of Troubled Blood, The Telegraph's Jake Kerridge muses about what Rowling's critics will think of the book given her growing infamy for trafficking in transphobic rhetoric. Rowling has also been cited for racism in her writing and responses to those critical of her ignorance of cultures she co-opts and the racist stereotypes in her work.
Once again, scores of people have taken to Twitter to voice their anger toward Rowling.
@PinkNews Like why does she do this— Meg Stalter (@Meg Stalter) 1600100762.0
@PinkNews Literally such an evil hearted woman whose transphobia continues to strengthen. It’s beyond disappointing, it’s dangerous— wap rem x (@wap rem x) 1600100725.0
@PinkNews imagine reading this headline and then not being able to understand the blatantly obvious motive behind her writing— Mae says BLM (@Mae says BLM) 1600100384.0
@PinkNews https://t.co/N7K4dabVKj— Tom 💫 (@Tom 💫) 1600101491.0
@theepictheymer @PinkNews "JK Rowling isn't transphobic!!!!" JK Rowling: Hold my beer— Marf (@Marf) 1600100875.0
@PinkNews The author of "Jaws", Peter Benchley, regretted writing the book. The fictional story he wrote helped dem… https://t.co/SXuyaJT3dI— Kolley Kibber 🇪🇺 (@Kolley Kibber 🇪🇺) 1600102932.0
@PinkNews JK Rowling: how about some wizards haha Everyone: love it omfg im such a hufflepluff hehe JK Rowling: h… https://t.co/5VbhmwYPbv— Rob N Roll (@Rob N Roll) 1600102374.0
@PinkNews I genuinely thought this was an Onion article. Sadly I was wrong.— Jakarta Charbo (@Jakarta Charbo) 1600096489.0
@PinkNews How she demeans herself. This is vicious and unnecessary— Lynne Featherstone (@Lynne Featherstone) 1600097478.0
Rowling has not responded to the controversy as of this writing.