I place this between Midsomer Murders and Hot Fuzz (“For the greater good”), but without all the murder and, you know, interesting bits.
Admittedly, the story does eventually draw the reader in. It’s a long book, too long for the minimal plot. Some could argue a gradual build up, but when the crux of the plot is a local council seat, it feels that there’s been a bit too much fluff. It’s a slow burn, but it does eventually get there.
Some of the dullest characters (again) eventually gain some personality. The tragic mother who fantasises about having sex with her daughter’s favourite boyband, the deputy who is so overwhelmed by anxiety over incidents that don’t happen that he has to take time off. And it’s meant to be a part of a revelation, which is why it was held off, but it really took those character revelations to make the book interesting.
The Weedon family are the only ones who had some real grit from the get go, and by extension Kay’s relationship with them.
See, The Casual Vacancy isn’t bad, but it feels like it took a long time to be worth it. I imagine a lot of people give up earlier on. I’m glad I persevered, and ultimately the book does become more than a poxy council seat, but I still could have done with a little more excitement in Pagford.