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Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite
Hidden Behind The Robe by Matt Graham is a legal drama. Judge Dunning received an anonymous letter accusing Judge William Davis Hyde of sexual misconduct. The allegations stated he'd had sex with a court clerk in his chambers. Included in the message, the person stated they'd also had sex with the judge. Opening an investigation, Judge Dunning included human resources detective Ricardo Mijares, who consulted his esteemed colleague Judge Doreen Schultz. She advised Mijares to talk to the mail clerk, Mary Presley. After Mijares confirms who the author of the letter is, Judge Dunning orders cameras to be placed in the chambers of the judges, hoping to prove the allegations. An inept police officer sends out a mass email confirming the completion of the camera installation. Judge Hyde and several of his supporters condemn the action. The following day, Judge Dunning receives a threatening phone call. When he arrives at work, he receives an email proving his life will be altered.
Matt Graham detailed the emotional effects of criminal court cases by using Judge Dunning’s position. Media scenarios that are inaccurate, protestors with a misguided agenda, and social isolation from everyone could drive a person to insanity. While this is a fictional story, I have seen the same persecution by the media in trials like Kyle Rittenhouse and Derek Chauvin. The political agenda of elected officials is often the reason for scandals to surface. Dunning’s investigation threatened Hyde’s career. Labeling a person a racist is a surefire way to end someone’s career. I liked how the leads for Mijares and a student reporter opened before me. The ending was unpredictable, and the storyline was captivating. I would recommend Hidden Behind The Robe to readers who enjoy a suspense story with realistic scenarios in the justice system.