David Sloane, the lawyer-who-never-loses, has just brought to completion a medical malpractice suit against a local Seattle pediatrician for the wrongful death of a six-year-old boy. Just as he's rushing into the courthouse to hear the verdict, however, he's stopped in the street by an unkempt, grungy twenty-something kid who thrusts a folder at him and tells him, "The doctor did not kill that boy...I did." With no reason to take the young man seriously, and no time to do so even if he did, Sloane rushes into court to receive yet another winning verdict.
Mere pages later we're thrust into the cutthroat world of the toy industry. Kendall Toys of Seattle has a new CEO, who has been recently annointed by the dying Sebastian Kendall, last of the toy dynasty's blood line. Malcolm Fitzgerald is up against a board in turmoil, cash flow problems, and a buy out offer from a rival toy firm. Luckily, he has an ace: Metamorphis, an amazing toy that trumps Transformers by allowing the child to design and execute the toy's transformations. Fitzgerald thinks Kendall has found, in Metamorphis, its holy grail, its Tickle Me Elmo, its Cabbage Patch Kid, the toy which--if they can get it into production quickly enough and price it just right--will be the one that has the kids clamoring and the parents scrambling to buy this holiday season. But there have been problems with the prototype, and in order to make the toy cheaply enough to price it affordably production has been farmed overseas, to the unregulated factories of China.
Robert Dugoni has been honing his skills with his previous three novels, and with Bodily Harm has become a true master of the legal thriller. His pacing is perfect, fast enough to keep the reader on the edge of the seat, but still thoughtful and intelligent. The courtroom scenes are believable--and there aren't overly many of them. His characters are well-developed, and even the secondary characters are believable and sympathetic, and we read breathlessly as the several different plotlines--including Sloane's moving personal story--come together for a satisfying resolution.