Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Review of "Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery," by John Feinstein

Review of

Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery, by John Feinstein, ISBN 0553494600

Five out of five stars

 This is a plausible mystery involving teens interacting with adults on roughly an equal basis. Steven Thomas and Susan Carol are in their early teen years and they are the co-winners of a sports writing contest and their reward is to attend the NCAA Final Four series in New Orleans and write about it. While they will be showcased to some extent, they are expected to submit stories regarding the events inside the Final Four atmosphere.  Therefore, they are issued press credentials. One of the teams in the Final Four is Minnesota State University (MSU) and their star player is Chip Graber.  

 By accident, Steven and Susan overhear Chip speaking with a man that is making threats to Chip, promising dire consequences of Chip does not throw the final game to Duke if MSU and Duke are to play for the championship. This is the first step in an adventure worthy of reading about. While Steven is a bit more cautious, Susan is completely comfortable in making up stories and relationships in order to investigate the attempted blackmail.

 As a consequence of an incredible shot by Chip at the end of overtime in the semi-final game, MSU and Duke play for the championship. Facing great pressure to succeed due to betrayal and danger to Susan and Steven, Chip plays poorly in the first half. However, things right themselves and there is a dramatic ending in the “big game at the end.”

 The story is structured where Steven and Susan must think very fast and create plausible stories on the fly in order to pursue the case. One very good feature is that Susan generally takes the lead in creating their cover stories, eventually Steven sits back and lets her lead. It is great sports story that all can relate to, for the focus is on the people that watch the games rather than those that play them.

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