The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling; published 2012 by Back Bay Books
Genre: Literary Fiction
Opening line: “Barry Fairbrother did not want to go out to dinner.”
When Barry Fairbrother suddenly dies, the proper little English town of Pagford is thrown into disarray. Apparently, the town was not quite as serene as it appeared. Barry was on the Parish Council, which is embroiled in a bitter debate over a poor neighborhood called the Fields, where Barry had been raised and which he had been fighting for. The Fields is a blight on Pagford’s pristine reputation, and some members of the board want it to be reassigned to the neighboring town, Yarvil. Things get ugly as candidates come forward to fill Barry’s seat. At the same time, an anonymous user called The Ghost of Barry Fairbrother starts posting secrets about town council members on the parish website.