I recently read and reviewed the first of the Robert Galbraith novels which is now JK Rowling's pseudonym for her thriller novel series.
A Casual Vacancy was her first modern novel and it appeared in my "Kindle offers for you" list, clever old Amazon target marketing. It was cheap so I decided to give it a go, and I'm glad I did. It's a good read. Not a pleasant laugh a minute read this is actually a novel that deals with a variety of hard hitting modern life issues.
Set in a fictitious West Country village the title and plot is centred around "a casual vacancy" which is a vacancy created on a parish council when an incumbent councillor dies. The vacancy caused by the sudden shocking death of an active councillor. This brings to the fore long standing concerns over some boundary issues with the nearest large town. There are factions that want the "problem area" an estate with considerable social deprivation, drug addiction and associate child care etc issues out of their ideal village and all the problems removed.
The various characters interweave their lives into this plot and much of the nastier side of people's personalities are shown - the barely concealed racism, the despising of those less fortunate without the knowledge of the issues they face etc. etc. Drug dependence prostitution, teenage sex and pregnancy are all dealt with in a hard hitting way.
It was not a jolly read but a good one and the ending whilst offering some hope wasn't the happiest of endings. But I'll give it a definite one thumbs up on the FTUBRS*
* Furtheron Thumbs Up Book Review Scale -
lowest is both thumbs down with a frown
two thumbs down,
one thumb horizontal,
two thumbs horizontal,
one thumb up,
two thumbs up
two thumbs up with a grin - very rarely awarded