SHIELD THE SOURCE by Brian J. Karem

SHIELD THE SOURCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A slow-paced account of how San Antonio TV-reporter Karem was jailed for refusing to surrender his notes on the slaying of a local cop. At 3:30 on the morning of March 27, 1989, Karem was called to investigate the shooting of San Antonio patrol officer Gary Williams. Two days later, brothers Henry and Julian Hernandez turned themselves in for the crime and were charged with capital murder. Karem persuaded a cop to pass his phone number to Henry Hernandez, who called the reporter from jail--a tremendous scoop for Karem's TV station. Later, though, the county prosecutor said that she could not indict without Karem's notes of his taped interview with Hernandez--which Karem refused to surrender. Although it became obvious to all parties that the prosecution had the same information as Karem, the reporter was jailed four times for contempt and, during his fourth incarceration, lost an appeal to the Supreme Court. Here, Karem's pedestrian account demonstrates his great strength of character in going to the wall for his principles, although he does try to milk maximum drama from his predicament with such chapter titles as ``Six Months In the Hole'' and ``Sodomy No!''--and comes across as a bit of a confabulator when it turns out that he served a total of 16 days and three afternoons in jail. Meanwhile, the Hernandezes remain in jail without indictment. Their claim of self-defense has been buttressed by the disclosure of brutality complaints in the murdered cop's personnel jacket and by an autopsy report showing that at the time of the killing he was, in the words of one doctor, ``ripped to the tits'' on cocaine and heroin. Unfortunately, the author doesn't fully develop this ongoing story here. Interesting, but suffering from tunnel vision and an odd lack of drama.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-88282-104-0
Page count: 382pp
Publisher: New Horizon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1992