The small(ish) town of Santa Rosa has been shocked by a series of violent rapes. Then the man suspected of being the rapist is killed and the body is found in a local park. While the police haven't solved the rapes, at least one local cop is sure the dead man is the one the want for the crimes. Now that has to be proved of disproved, and the murder has to be solved.
It's not really the crimes themselves, however, that drive The Violated. It's what one character refers to as "the dark consequences of the crimes . . . the pain and sorrow, the bitter regret, the physical and mental damage that so many had suffered . . . ."
Pronzini shows these dark consequences through the use of multiple first-person accounts. No one really escapes, not the mayor, not the newspaper editor, not the cops, not husbands and relatives, certainly not the victims themselves. Pronzini weaves all their stories together expertly, giving all of them distinct voices and at the same time presenting a well-constructed procedural crime story. I'm a fan of Pronzini's Nameless Detective series, but his talent goes well beyond that fine group of novels, as evidenced by The Violated, another topnotch standalone from an MWA Grandmaster