I've just started with this book but already I'm loving it.
Yes, Rowling typed the words 'fuck' and 'shit' and mentions sex quite a bit, already. Her new characters smoke and drink and they gossip and act like, well, adults. Most of the reviews I've read seem to have a hard time getting over these facts. Some of those reviews also have a hard time with the fact that this book is 'only' about a small town and it's reaction to a death. As if fiction has to be as big and bold as a seven book series for it to be worthy of reading.
The strange thing to me is that "The Casual Vacancy" reminds me of another author. An author that recently passed and that Rowling, herself, had mentioned once as a favorite. Maeve Binchy. The small town politics and interactions between small town characters is right out of a Binchy novel. Don't get me wrong, if you're going to be compared to/with someone then Maeve is a gem of a comparison.
I'll reserve any more judgement until I'm finished but, at the very least, Rowling has set herself up quite well for whatever else she has coming down the pipe. She's written what she wants to and now what we want her to, that's the best she could have done. Honestly anything she would have written would have been heavily scrutinized so why not just put something out there that represents what it is you want to do? Like most artists that strike it big with an idea, they fall when they try to top themselves, be bigger and better than the huge album or movie or song or book that made them a household name. Rowling's gone the other direction and released something that stays clear of that. She's put a book out there that, if it had been her first, would have garnered her good reviews and had many a critic marking her down as an author to keep an eye on.