Bodily Harm (David Sloane Series #3)

Bodily Harm (David Sloane Series #3)

by Robert Dugoni

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Overview

Bodily Harm (David Sloane Series #3) by Robert Dugoni

New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni returns with his most exhilarating legal thriller to date, a pulse-pounding story of corporate greed, espionage, and the lengths one man is willing to go for justice.

Bodily Harm opens with a big win for David Sloane and his new partner, Tom Pendergrass, in a malpractice case centered on the death of a young child. But on the heels of this seeming victory, an unlikely character—toy designer Kyle Horgan— comes forward to tell Sloane that he’s gotten it all wrong: Horgan’s the one who’s truly responsible for the little boy’s death and possibly others—not the pediatrician Sloane has just proven guilty.

Ordinarily, Sloane might have dismissed such a person as a crackpot, but something about this case has always troubled him—something that he couldn’t quite pinpoint. When Sloane tries to follow up with Horgan, he finds the man’s apartment a shambles— ransacked by unknown perpetrators. Horgan has vanished without a trace. Together with his longtime investigative partner Charles Jenkins, Sloane reexamines his clients’ son’s death and digs deeper into Horgan’s claims, forcing him to enter the billion-dollar, cutthroat toy industry. As Sloane gets closer to the truth, he trips a wire that leads to a shocking chain of events that nearly destroys him.

To get to the bottom of it all and find justice for the families harmed, Sloane must keep in check his overwhelming desire for revenge. Full of nail-bitingly tense action scenes as well as edge-of-your-seat courtroom drama, Bodily Harm finds Robert Dugoni at the very top of his game.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439100615
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 05/25/2010
Series: David Sloane Series , #3
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 47,983
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Robert Dugoni has practiced as a civil litigator in San Francisco and Seattle for seventeen years. In 1999 he left his law practice to write full time. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a degree in journalism and worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times before obtaining his doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. A two-time winner of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest, he lives with his wife and two children in the Pacific Northwest.

Read an Excerpt


PROLOGUE

GUANGZHOU, CHINA

It hurt to blink.

The light stabbed at his eyes, shooting daggers of pain to the back of his skull. When he shut them an aurora of black and white spots lingered.

Albert Payne had never been one to partake liberally in alcohol; not that he was a complete teetotaler either. He’d been hungover a handful of times during his fifty-six years, but those few occasions had been the result of unintended excess, never a deliberate intent to get drunk. So although he had little experience with which to compare it, his pounding head seemed a clear indicator that he had indeed drunk to excess. He’d have to accept that as so, because he could remember little about the prior evening. Each factory owner, along with the local officials in China’s Guangdong Province, had insisted on a reception for Payne and the delegation, no doubt believing their hospitality would ensure a favorable report. Payne recalled sipping white wine, but after three weeks the receptions had blurred together, and he could not separate one from the other.

Coffee.

The thought popped into his head and he seemed to recall that caffeine eased a hangover. Maybe so, but locating the magic elixir would require that he stand, dress, leave his hotel room, and ride the elevator to the lobby. At the moment, just lifting his head felt as if it would require a crane.

Forcing his eyelids open, he followed floating dust motes in a stream of light to an ornate ceiling of crisscrossing wooden beams and squares of decorative wallpaper. He blinked, pinched the bridge of his nose, then looked again, but the view had not changed. A cold sweat enveloped him. The ceiling in his room at the Shenzhen Hotel had no beams or wallpaper; he’d awakened the previous three mornings to a flat white ceiling.

He shifted his gaze. Cheap wood paneling and a dingy, burnt-orange carpet: this was not his hotel room and, by simple deduction, this could not be his bed.

He slid his hand along the sheet, fingertips brushing fabric until encountering something distinctly different, soft and warm. His heart thumped hard in his chest. He turned his head. Dark hair flowed over alabaster shoulders blemished by two small moles. The woman lay on her side, the sheet draped across the gentle slope of her rounded hip.

Starting to hyperventilate, Payne forced deep breaths from his diaphragm. Now was not the time to panic. Besides, rushing from the room was not an option, not in his present condition, and not without his clothes. Think! The woman had not yet stirred, and judging by her heavy breathing she remained deep asleep, perhaps as hungover as he, perhaps enough that if he didn’t panic, Payne might be able to sneak out without waking her, if he could somehow manage to sit up.

He forced his head from the pillow and scanned along the wall to the foot of the bed, spotted a shoe, and felt a moment of great relief that just as quickly became greater alarm. The shoe was not his brown Oxford loafer but a square-toed boot.

Payne bolted upright, causing the room to spin and tilt off-kilter, bringing fleeting, blurred images like a ride on a merry-go-round. The images did not clear until the spinning slowed.

“Good morning, Mr. Payne.” The man sat in an armless, slatted wood chair. “You appear to be having a difficult start to your day.” Eyes as dark as a crow, the man wore his hair parted in the middle and pulled back off his forehead in a ponytail that extended beyond the collar of his black leather coat.

“Would you care for some water?”

Not waiting for a response, the man stood. At a small round table in the corner of the room he filled a glass from a pitcher, offering it to Payne. If this were a bad dream, it was very real. Payne hesitated, no longer certain that his hangover was alcohol induced.

The man motioned with the glass and arched heavy eyebrows that accentuated the bridge of a strong forehead. Dark stubble shaded his face. “Please. I assure you it’s clean, relatively speaking.”

Payne took the glass but did not immediately drink, watching as the man returned to the chair, and crossed his legs, before again pointing to the glass. This time Payne took a small sip. The glass clattered against his teeth and water trickled down his chin onto the sheet. When the man said nothing, Payne asked, “What do you want?”

“Me? I want nothing.”

“Then why are you—”

The man raised a single finger. “My employer, however, has several requests.”

“Your employer? Who is your employer?”

“I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to divulge that information.”

The woman emitted a small moan before her chest resumed its rhythmic rise and fall. Payne looked back to the man, an idea occurring. “I’ve been married for more than twenty years; my wife will never believe this.”

The man responded with a blank stare. “Believe what?”

Payne gestured to the woman. “Her. It’s not going to work.”

“Ah.” The man nodded. “You believe that I am here to blackmail you with photographs or videotapes of the two of you fornicating.”

“It isn’t going to work,” Payne repeated.

“Let me first say that it is refreshing to hear in this day when more than fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce that yours remains strong. Good for you. But look around you, Mr. Payne; do you see a camera or a video recorder anywhere in the room?”

Payne did not.

“Now, as I said, my employer has several requests.” For the next several minutes the man outlined those requests. Finishing, he asked, “Do we have an understanding?”

Confused, Payne shook his head. “But you said you weren’t here to blackmail me.”

“I said I was not here to blackmail you with photographs or videotapes. And as you have already educated me, such an attempt would not be productive.”

“Then why would I do what you’re asking?”

“Another good question.” The man pinched his lower lip. His brow furrowed. “It appears I will need something more persuasive.” He paused. “Can you think of anything?”

“What?”

“Something that would make a man like you acquiesce to my employer’s demands?”

“There’s nothing,” Payne said. “This isn’t going to work. So if I could just have my clothes back.”

“Nothing?” The man seemed to give the problem greater consideration, then snapped his fingers. “I have it.”

Payne waited.

“Murder.”

The word struck Payne like a dart to the chest. “Murder? I haven’t murdered anyone.”

With the fluidity of a dancer the man stood, a gun sliding into his extended left hand from somewhere beneath his splayed black coat, and the back of the woman’s head exploded, blood splattering Payne about the face and neck.

“Now you have.”

© 2010 La Mesa Fiction, LLC

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Bodily Harm includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

Celebrated trial lawyer David Sloane is at the top of his game after a victory proving a local doctor was negligent in a child’s death. But just as Sloane is settling down with his growing family, another child’s death grabs his attention. It becomes clear the two deaths are connected and that a local toy company could be involved. Soon Sloane is on the case, even after it puts his life—and the lives of those he loves most—in danger.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. What was your initial reaction to Kyle Horgan? Does he seem like someone who could be believed when he first approached Sloane? What kind of person does Horgan prove to be?

2. Sloane is called “the lawyer who does not lose.” Do you think this affects how he handles the Kendall case?

3. Malcolm Fitzgerald, the new CEO of Kendall Toys, is torn between selling the company to Galaxy Toys or taking a gamble with the new secret toy. Does he make the right decision? If you were in his position, what would you have done?

4. Though Kendall Toys rejects Galaxy’s buyout offer, who do you think the sale would have helped and who would it have hurt?

5. Were you impressed by Metamorphis, Kendall’s secret toy? Do you think it would have become the hot toy Kendall hoped it would?

6. Describe the situation Albert Payne is in at the outset of the story. If you were being blackmailed as he was, would you cover up criminal acts to protect yourself or go straight to the police?

7. Who did you initially think was behind Albert Payne’s decision to shut down Anne LeRoy’s research? Do the events of the story confirm or change your idea?

8. Kendall Toys’ employee Manny Gallegos originally accepted a settlement rather than having his family deported. How does Sloane use this information to his advantage? Does it work?

9. Does Sloane’s being an orphan affect how he handled the case? If so, how?

10. As a lawyer, Sloane is perceptive and a quick thinker, always trying to stay one step ahead. Give an example of how this helped him stay alive and solve the crime.

11. Sloane’s friend Tom Molia refers to a Bruce Springsteen song with a metaphor about a dog being beaten and spending its life covering up, but then Tom says others “get tired of getting beat and one day just bite back.” How does this relate to the events in this book?

12. Did think the corporate antagonists got what they deserved? If not, what do you think should have happened to Sebastian Kendall, Fitzgerald, and Bolelli?

13. Is Sloane’s decision to let Jake go with his biological father a selfless act? Why does he make this decision?

14. Where do you see Sloane going from here?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. The story is all about toys. Have your book group talk about their favorite toys. What kinds of toys are popular now? How have fads changed over the years?

2. Imagine the new types of toys you’d love to see on the market. Mock up designs if you can.

3. The novel constantly reminds us to appreciate what we have, since it may not always be there. Discuss what you appreciate about your family and friends and why they are so important to you.

Customer Reviews

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Bodily Harm (David Sloane Series #3) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Kataman1 More than 1 year ago
Having read the first two Sloane books in the series, I was a little disappointed with this one. Sloane wins a case for malpractice causing the death of a boy. At the conclusion of the case a strange man (Horgan) approaches Sloane saying that he, and not the doctor, was actually responsible for the boy's death. Sloane pays it no mind but after he becomes intrigued and realizes that maybe the doctor was not responsible for the boy's death after all. While this is going on a toy manufacturer (Kendall Toys) is struggling financially and fighting to prevent a hostile takeover. The heads of the company are banking on a new toy called Metamorphisis to be the "it" toy of the holiday season. Somehow this toy may have serious dangerous defects. As Sloane starts his investigation of Horgan's claims, he finds it may be tied to the Metamorphisis toy that Kendall is touting. This unleashes a baddie that comes after Sloane. Sloane now paired with his buddy Jenkins, have to pull out all the stops to prevent the bad guy's plans and learn the truth about the children deaths. The book mostly moves at a snail's pace and the tense moments do not measure up to the previous two Sloane books. I do give it three stars for some of the courtroom moments though. Hopefully the author will gain momentum on the next Sloane entry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent!!!
DGGass More than 1 year ago
Compelling. If I had only one word to describe “Bodily Harm” by Robert Dugoni, it would be that word…compelling. Before I go on, let me take a brief detour here. I have always been a huge fan of Agatha Christie and her murder mysteries. The Queen of Crime had a wonderful way with leading her readers through her stories with just enough information to convince you everyone was guilty and kept you enthralled until the very end, if only to find out just who the murderer really was. When I finished “Bodily Harm“, I closed Mr. Dugoni’s book with the same satisfaction that I’ve had with Dame Christie’s novels – and more. I found “Bodily Harm” an exciting read filled with intrigue and suspense; complete with corporate espionage, government corruption and – of course – murder. Dugoni deftly incorporated “breadcrumbs” into plausible scenarios and relevant sub-plots that left this reader guessing till the end who was truly behind it all. He developed his characters in a way that I became wrapped up in them and shed tears of empathy when I finished. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to visiting with David Sloane again through the author’s other works.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
book_fanWA More than 1 year ago
This is a difficult review to write without giving away too much detail. While this book had just as much edge of your seat suspense as the first two, I was disappointed when a family member died (I won't say who as that would ruin the story). Having said that,it is still a good read and I'll look forward to the 4th in the series.
sg47 More than 1 year ago
I have found an action, fast moving read that keeps you at the edge of your seat, something you look for when reading a mystery, and often twisting plots that keeps you guessing
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KenCady More than 1 year ago
It's a modest effort to draw attention to problems with corporate America- in this case toy makers, and the lack of standards and honesty in even this child pleasing world of toys.
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grumpydan More than 1 year ago
David Sloane is high-profile lawyer who just won a malpractice case against a doctor on the death of a young boy. Then, someone comes up to him and tells him he was responsible for the death. At first, David ignores him, but then he goes looking for this Kyle Horgan, an independent toy designer. Nowhere to be found, David starts investigating his claims, and soon thereafter bodies start piling up. Who is killing these people; where is Kyle Morgan and what is so special about this toy he invented. Robert Dugoni has written an intense mystery that had me not wanting to put the book down. This is a powerful story of greed and justice that just blew me away. Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Got caught up in this book from word one. Continuing problems with consumer goods manufactured overseas make for a realistic and timely topic. The dangers of noncompliant products that endanger children add additional tensions to the plot. Lawyer David Sloane is an interesting and still evolving character, as are former FBI agent Jenkins and Detective Molia. The subplot here is as riveting as the main story, and Dugoni continues to hone his style. Looking forward to reading more about Sloane, Jenkins and Molia. Keep 'em coming!
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Seattle attorney David Sloane is on the verge of winning a wrongful death lawsuit against respected pediatrician Dr. Peter Douvalidis when a curve ball upsets his perfect case. Toy designer Kyle Horgan confesses he is culpable in the young child's death. His position suddenly shaky becomes even more precarious when a second child dies almost identical to how his clients' offspring died. Dr. Douvalidis had nothing to do with the second pediatric death. Before he can question Horgan, the toymaker vanishes. Former CIA assassin Anthony Stenopolis seeking revenge stalks Sloane, whose reputation as never losing a case is teetering,.Before it is too late, Sloane seeks out Stenopolis. The third Sloane legal thriller (see Jury Master and Wrongful Death) is an enjoyable tale that is superb when the focus is on the unraveling case, but loses some steam in ironically the more action-packed cat and mouse search for the hero's stalking assassin. Still fast-paced regardless of which subplot takes center stage, readers will appreciate Robert Dugoni's latest suspense filled novel. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another good story,,,,,,stay tuned you will be hooked
kristinadavis More than 1 year ago
Providence Journal review says it all - - Robert Dugoni does so many things well in his terrific Bodily Harm that it's hard to know where to start. Blending the best of Scott Turow and John Grisham with a hefty measure of the cutting-edge Michael Crichton thrillers Disclosure and Airframe, Dugoni¼s latest is a smooth, cross-genre hybrid that works on every level. David Sloane, the Rambo of lawyers, is struggling to balance his mega-successful professional career with his not nearly as successful personal life. Fresh off another courtroom triumph, Sloane is about to dedicate himself more to his wife Tina and stepson Jake, when his world explodes in a maelstrom of violence and corporate shenanigans. His surgeon told Sloane he was lucky to be alive. Jenkins knew Sloane didn't feel that way. With his life literally coming apart, Sloane sets his sights on an evil toy manufacturer with strong ties to a high-tech Chinese assembly line that may or not be responsible for the deaths of several young children. Little, it turns out, is what both he and us thought it be originally. Good thing Sloane has partner, ex-CIA operative Charles Jenkins, on his side in a struggle for both revenge and redemption. In that respect, Bodily Harm most resembles Word of Honor, still Nelson DeMille's masterwork. No Turow or Grisham tale ever had this kind of depth, color and breathless plotting, and the result brands Dugoni as the undisputed king of the legal thriller." by Jon Land