Review

Bodily Harm

by Robert Dugoni

Who doesn’t like toys? A lifelong friend of mine STILL
buys toys for himself as he puts an end to his sixth decade. Since
the conception of my children has been somewhat spaced, I have a
houseful of Transformers, Go-Bots, various incarnations of computer
games, Beanie Babies, those stuffed animals you register online,
Chia Pets, and, most recently, Silly Bandz. But I never really
thought about how cutthroat the toy industry can be until I picked
up BODILY HARM by Robert Dugoni, a novel that lays down a bountiful
table of food for thought.

Walk into one of those toy megastores, and you will see all
sorts of toys and toy brands jockeying for position, including
popular toys, knock-offs of the popular toys, and, in some cases,
knock-offs of the knock-offs. We don’t really stop to think
what sort of gyrations a toy company goes through before its toy
gets to market. And woe be the company that gets it wrong ---
whether that means trying to guess what the next big toy will be,
being late to market with it, or discovering that your “next
big thing” is also inherently dangerous. That’s exactly
what happens in BODILY HARM. Featuring the return of David Sloane,
“the lawyer who never loses,” the novel goes behind the
scenes of the toy industry for an over-the-shoulder look at
precisely what is involved and what is at stake on the eve of a
major toy launch.

The toy in question is Metamorphis, and let me tell you, Dugoni
is absolutely brilliant here. His description alone will make you
want one of these things. Unfortunately, there is a major flaw in
its construction, and it’s a deadly one. Kendall Toys knows
this due to the deaths of two children who comprised part of its
sample group for the toy. When Sloane begins connecting the dots
between these tragedies, he jeopardizes the Christmas rollout for
Metamorphis. Kendall, however, is not about to take this threat
passively. Early on, Sloane pays a terrible price for rattling
Kendall’s cage, one that has repercussions throughout BODILY
HARM and will no doubt affect the course of future novels in the
series. Sloane attempts to pursue Kendall with renewed vigor, even
as his tragedy affects him in ways he could not have
anticipated.

Beset from both a personal and professional standpoint, and
battling a foe with seemingly unlimited resources, Sloane turns to
Jenkins for help. Jenkins has been Sloane’s go-to guy since
Sloane was a child. Yet even Jenkins’s shadowy contacts in
the intelligence world may not be enough to provide them with what
it takes to battle the deadly and merciless force that Sloane has
inadvertently unleashed. Motivated in equal parts by a thirst for
justice and revenge, Sloane pursues his case against Kendall to its
end, even as it seems that his winning trial streak will be broken
with the case that means the most to him.

BODILY HARM may well be Robert Dugoni’s most ambitious
work. The story is full of twists and turns, including two very
significant events that will flummox those who have followed the
series from the beginning. It solidly establishes that whether
inside the courtroom or out, Sloane and Dugoni, a former litigation
expert, are a force to be reckoned with.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 22, 2010

Bodily Harm
by Robert Dugoni

  • Publication Date: May 25, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • ISBN-10: 1416592962
  • ISBN-13: 9781416592969