The title might suggest that this is a parody of The Casual Vacancy, but the title is just a clever marketing ploy to make sure that the book catches the eye of browsers. There are similarities in that both are set in in a small town and involve members of the local council; there is also mention of a very famous author living in a mansion on the edge of town and a school where the children dress curiously, fly on broomsticks and the staff appear to be famous actors. We also have central characters with strangely similar names (Terry Fairbreath/Barry Fairweather), but despite all this, the book is not a parody of JKR’s books, but parodies the police procedural genre. A would-be crime novelist teams up with an inept, newly-promoted detective and, in trying to obtain the material for a possible book, manipulates the policeman into behaving in the manner of the genre archetype.
What follows is a manic romp, played entirely for laughs, that includes outlandish characters, corny jokes, and slapstick humour combined with the odd really weird creation, for example, alien visitors and an ogre.
It’s an undemanding book that provides a few hours entertainment. It’s well written and rattles along at a good pace. I would have enjoyed it more if the humour hadn’t been so dependent on the results of excessive drinking and drug-taking.
It came as no surprise when a little research revealed that Patty is actually Bruce.
I bought it for Kindle from Amazon, where it’s also available in print format. The Vacant Casualty