Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery

Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery

by John Feinstein


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New York Times bestselling sportswriter John Feinstein exposes the real “March Madness”—behind the scenes at the Final Four basketball tournament.
When Stevie wins a writing contest for aspiring sports journalists, his prize is a press pass to the Final Four in New Orleans. While exploring the Superdome, he overhears a plot to throw the championship game. With the help of fellow contest winner Susan Carol, Stevie has just 48 hours to figure out who is blackmailing one of the star players . . . and why.
John Feinstein has been praised as “the best writer of sports books in America today” (The Boston Globe), and he proves it again in this fast-paced novel.
“A page-turning thriller and a basketball junkie’s bonanza.” —USA Today

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553494600
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 06/27/2006
Series: The Sports Beat Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 54,369
Product dimensions: 5.24(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.65(d)
Lexile: 760L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

JOHN FEINSTEIN is the author of many bestselling books, including A Season on the Brink and A Good Walk Spoiled. His books for young readers offer a winning combination of sports, action, and intrigue, with Last Shot receiving the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best young adult mystery of the year. He lives in Potomac, Maryland, and Shelter Island, New York, with his family.

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from chapter 5 of Last Shot by John Feinstein

“Nothing here,” Susan Carol said. “I guess we–” She stopped in mid-sentence. “Hey, look who’s here.”

She pointed across the dark, open area to the outside door. Stevie could see a group of young men in purple-and-white sweats coming through the doorway. “Straight down this hall to the end and turn right gentlemen,” someone they couldn’t see was saying. “Your locker room is the first one you come to on your right.”

“As if they can’t read the signs,” Stevie said.

“He must have forgotten that they’re student-athletes,” Susan Carol said.

Stevie laughed. He hated to admit it, but she was kind of funny.

“Well,” she said. “Should we head–”

She stopped in mid-sentence again. Stevie turned and saw one final purple-and-white suited player walk through the doorway, peering around as if to make sure no one was there. Stevie recognized the floppy blond hair right away. It was Chip Graber. Right behind him was a man in a charcoal gray suit who was also looking around in a suspicious way. Instinctively, Stevie took Susan Carol’s arm and stepped back so they were hidden behind some rolled up Astroturf.

Graber and the charcoal suit finally seemed satisfied they were alone, then walked towards the loading dock until they were almost directly below Stevie and Susan Carol–who were both frozen with surprise and curiosity.

“Okay, Chip, we’ve got about two minutes to get this straight before the press conference,” the suit said. “You can’t get cold feet now.”

“I never had warm feet,” Chip Graber answered in a stage whisper, still plenty loud enough for Stevie and Susan Carol to hear. “What if I won’t do it?”

“Then the team gets stripped of all its wins and your father gets fired. We’ve been through this. . . .”

There was a long silence. Stevie wondered if perhaps the conversation had ended, but there were no signs of movement below. Susan Carol started to open her mouth to say something, but he put a finger to his lips to indicate she should stay silent.

Just when Stevie thought he was wrong, he heard Graber’s voice again. “This is unbelievable.”

“Hey, Chip, the world’s a cold place sometimes. Cooperate and you’ll be a millionaire in a couple of months. Your dad will get a big contract extension for making the Final Four. Quit whining, do what you need to do, and we’ll all walk away happy.”

“But what if we lose Saturday? There’s no guarantee we’ll win that game. Why does it have to be Monday?”

“That’s not something you need to worry about. You just play your butt off against St. Joe’s and choke against Duke. We’ll take care of the rest.”

“I’ll get you for this. All of you.”

“Please. You don’t even know who we are. And if you try anything with me, the roof will fall in on you and your dad. Now let’s go. You’ve got a press conference.”

This time they could hear footsteps walking away. Stevie and Susan Carol stood stock still for a moment looking at one another.

“What did we just hear?” she asked finally.

“Well, unless I’m crazy, we just heard the best player in the country being blackmailed to throw the championship game.”

“Yeah, that’s what I heard too. But he has to win tomorrow. Isn’t that weird? I don’t know very much about gambling, but if someone is trying to make a lot of money by betting against Minnesota State, why wait until Monday?”

“That’s what Graber asked. There’s got to be a reason why it has to be Monday. And he said he had to lose to Duke on Monday. How’s he know Duke will win tomorrow?”

For the first time since they had met that morning, Stevie thought Susan Carol looked lost. “What do we do?” she asked.

Stevie shook his head. “I don’t know. Tell someone?”

“But who?” she asked. “Who’d believe us?”

“Good question,” he said. “I barely believe us. Man, I wanted a story no one else had, but this is insane. Let’s get out of here. It’s spooky.”

She didn’t argue.

As they opened the doors that led back to the hallway and the bright lights hit Stevie’s eyes, he felt like he was leaving a movie. But there was no leaving. Now he and Susan Carol were part of the movie.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Last Shot is a brisk novel set in the madness of the NCAA’s Final Four. Exceptionally knowledgeable about the college basketball world, Feinstein has a fine time lampooning broadcaster Dick Vitale and the bureaucrats who populate the NCAA itself. The blackmailing plot that unfolds over the course of Final Four weekend threatens a student-athlete who isn’t a student, implicates an ethics professor with no ethics, and otherwise introduces to young readers the sleaze beneath the glitter of college basketball’s biggest show. Remarkably, Feinstein pokes holes in the illusions without diminishing the excitement of the games themselves as seen through the eyes of two eighth-grade reporters. He writes as if he’s having a fine time at the keyboard, and the result will entertain not only young readers, but the oldsters looking over their shoulders as well.” —Boston Globe

“Score! That’s exactly what author John Feinstein does with this mystery.”—Dallas Morning News

“You’ll feel as if you have a courtside seat at the SuperDome. Last Shot is Feinstein’s first entry into fiction for young people, and it’s an impressive one. The story is intriguing, the dialogue snappy and the finale exciting.” —Bookpage

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 108 reviews.
gilkeson-L More than 1 year ago
The book "Last Shot" is about a boy and girl that win a writing contest and get to write articles for the final four. The boys name is Steve Thomas and the girls name is Susan Carol. When Steve and Susan get to the final four they meet each other and they get to know each other. One day they get lost and they try to find their way back to the lobby and then they run into one of the basketball teams and heard the player and coach talking about setting up the game. So Steve and Susan try to figure out what exactly happened and they try to stop it. I like this book cause it talks about basketball and I like basketball. It kept me reading and there were some funny parts to the book. The book had some surprising parts to it so it kept you focused and kept you attached to the book. I don't like how it takes a little while to get into the action of the book but that is the only thing I dislike of the book. I would recommend this book to people who like sports. Especially people who like basketball cause it is really intense. For people who like cliff hangers and leave them suspecting something.
BookLover44 More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book! I love basketball and I was really into this book. It's probably one of my favorites! I'd recomend it to anyone and everyone who loves and has an obsession about basketball and mysteries!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like basketball you should love this book. I read it for a book report for school and I loved. You are on your seat for all of it and it is also a great mstery. READ THIS BOOK.
Andrew-B More than 1 year ago
In "Last Shot" by John Feinstein, 13 year-olds Steve Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are two of the USBWA (United States Basketball Writer's Association) and are granted press access to the Final Four in New Orleans. Steve is a little skeptic of Susan at the beginning but they end up working well together. The two overhear Chip Graber, Minnesota State's star point-guard being blackmailed to throw the championship game or else his transcript would be changed to make it look like he failed, and his dad would be fired as coach. Steve and Susan then make it their mission to find who is blackmailing Chip. One theme I got out of this story was that you never know what goes on behind closed doors. When you watch sporting events like the Final Four on tv, all you see is what your given. But although this book may be fiction, it's deffinatly possible that scenarios like this can or have gone on before. This book does give a good scenario of what can really happen that people are not aware of. I really liked the journalism aspect of the plot, because that is a career field that I want to get into. I chose this book because I saw that it combined one of my favorite things, basketball, with the career field that I want to persue. I also liked the mystery aspect of the story, and it really keeps you on the edge of your seat at the end of the story. I didn't like how i felt kind of bored in the middle, and it didn't seem to pick up again until the end when they solve the mystery. It also seemed like there was too much of a mix of material that bores adults and would entertain young teens, and material that only adults would understand. If you are really in to basketball, I would reccomend giving this book a try. Also if you are in to mysteries, this book is perfect for you. It really appeals to both sides and mixes them together well. I have not read any other works by John Feinstein, but there are for sure some more out there like "Last Dance" and "Caddy For Life" that are true stories unlike this book. I give this book three starts because although it apeeled to me at first because of its topic, it really lived up to the Final Four "buzzer beater" because it really didn't get too suspensful until the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Favorite book ever
Linda Pentaleri More than 1 year ago
I can't believe what some of these reviews say! This is one of my favorite books. If you are a boy or girl you will like this book as long as you have some interest in basketball. By the way the guy who said to stick to Mike Lupica books are better is total wrong Mike Lupica is horrible, John Feinstein books are WAY more exciting!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this thrilling, sports related story John Feinstein uses many cliffhangers to write about Stevie Thomas who travels to New Orleans as a result of winning the USBWA writing competition. Then, when he gets there him and the other competition winner, Susan Carol, finally meet each other for the first time.. Wearing press passes around their necks Steve couldn't be happier. Until he and Susan Carol are nosing around in the Superdome and overhear Minnesota State's star player, Chip Graber, being told he has to throw the championship game. It is up to Stevie and Susan Carol to find out the mystery of the Final Four and to stop the blackmailers. This book is a great choice for children that are ages 9-13. This amazing story gives you a behind the scenes look at the way reporters work as well as a page turning story about the Final Four and all the work that goes into making a quality story, that makes the newspapers, possible. This book puts a brand new perspective on the way you look at collage basketball and all the coaches and staff that are on the team.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i love it
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Last Shot' was a very good book. It's about a boy named Stevie Thomas, who wins a writing contest to go to New Orleans with a press pass to interview all the players at the NCAA Final Four! It's Stevie's dream! That dream turns to a harsh reality when Stevie and his co-winner, Susan Carol Andersen, overhear Chip Graber, the start point guard for MSU, being blackmailed into throwing the championship game! This was definitely a thrilling book. You couldn't predict who did it! By chapter 17, I was so confused. They left you hanging and had a terrific ending! This book deserves 5 stars!!
ctmsrywi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last Shot by John Feinstein is a great book. The main character Steve and his new friend Susan Carroll learn something no one in the world is supposed to know. The book is fast moving and doesn¿t slow down.Steve and Susan Carroll are eighth graders who won a sports article contest and travel to New Orleans for the final four of March Madness. When they are down there they over hear a man tell MSU¿s star player, Chip Graber that he has to throw the championship game. They confront Chip and help him through his problem, but it gets dangerous for them when people find out what they know.From the beginning it jumps straight into the story. It gave a quick introduction then goes strait to what¿s happening now. It has a nice transition and moves fast, I could hardly put it down.The Last Shot is a great book. It keeps you guessing and you never want to put it down. I hope anyone who reads it enjoys it as much as me. ryan
MAINEiac4434 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Last Shot is the story of how two young sportswriters stumble upon a plot to fix the Final Four. The first of a very good (albeit improbable) series.This book is really good for young sports fans. Pretty good writing, good characters, decent plot.
sweetiegherkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eighth-graders Stevie and Susan Carol are both winners of a young adult writing contest for the USBWA, thus giving them press passes to college basketball¿s big event ¿ the Final Four. While wandering around the Superdome looking for a story, Stevie and Susan Carol overhear someone threatening one of the star players into fixing the final game. Before they know it, Stevie and Susan Carol are in over their heads trying to prevent the blackmail scheme from succeeding. The book was a bit slow in the beginning, explaining a great deal about college basketball before finally getting to the mystery around page 50. After that, the pace picked up and the plot was a lot more compelling. Overall, this is an interesting book, with the mystery unfolding naturally with a balanced amount of suspense. My biggest issue is how 13-year-old Susan Carol (who could pass for 17) is constantly using her good looks to pump information out of middle-aged men ¿ a little bit creepy in my opinion, especially for a book aimed at older children and younger teens.
bkoopman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Realistic issues confront two students who are torn by their goals. Set in the context of an exciting final four basketball tournament, and this story fills a need for the sports-minded student. Gripping for a few students, others will be lost in the sports terms.
mzonderm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While the situation is a bit unbelievable (two students stumble upon a blackmail scandal at the Final Four of NCAA basketball and are determined to save the star player) the characters themselves are well-drawn. The scenes with the big-name sports reporters are very funny, even if you don't recognize all the names. Anyone who enjoys NCAA basketball and a good mystery will like this book.
aperrigo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pretty awful teen mystery a la Nancy Drew--except a boy and girl solve a price-fixing scheme at the Final Four basketball tournament. Totally unbelievable!
catz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book made me feel like I was helping Stevie and Susan Carol help Chip Graber. I like this book because it's a sports story and a mystery.
praveen1 More than 1 year ago
This was an exceptional novel that depicted a boy, Stevie Thomas, who won a writing contest and 2 tickets to the Final Four which he shared with his dad. There he meets the other contest winner, Susan Carol Anderson, and they overhear a professor blackmailing the star player, Chip Graber, to throw the championship game, which they could not leave condoned. I thought that it was very interesting and entertaining how these two kids managed to sneak into a hotel without a key and weave their way through guard after guard to get information from Minnesota State University’s star, Chip Graber, about the blackmail. This book kept me on the edge for the whole plot where there was a cliff hanger at the end of every chapter. I was exhilarated to get to the end of this book and find a huge turning point which would push me off my seat, but I was disappointed to find that the ending didn’t give me the final blow I was expecting from such a great, suspenseful plot. The idea was not that cliché, but the whole ending was very predictable because it was the most obvious one. Although, the book had been spoiled from where the conflict was going to be solved because by the title Last Shot, you would know that the last shot would go in after all of the hints dropped by foreshadowing in the story. But the idea of the final shot being the game decider is very, very cliché in basketball stories so it didn’t keep the suspense going. I could tell that Feinstein was trying his best to keep that shot very suspenseful, but it has happened so often in media stories that it’s not a fresh idea anymore. However, this book was published in 2006 when it could have been a fresh idea, but I wouldn’t know. The intended audience for this book is most likely teen basketball enthusiasts who have some prior knowledge about the Final Four and the colleges that compete in the NCAA (college basketball). I did not like that we had to have some knowledge about the good teams going into the Final Four before reading this because people introduced to basketball would not be able to keep up with the story. With this and the predictable ending, this book does not deserve a 5 out of 5 star rating, but it was most definitely a very interesting book overall, so I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like it very good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
3 words: 4th best book EVER behind: coverup by feistein rush for gold also by feistein and the watsons go to birimingham-1963 i love feistein new fav author #<3feisteinandboston #bostonstrong
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The last shot is an exhilarating novel which keeps you at the edge of your seat form chapter one. This is a sports book made especially for teens who love sports and are die hard for college basketball. I happen to be both a teen and a sport fanatic and i enjoyed all the real life characters and events displayed in the book. The Last Shot takes place in March Madness, which is the most prestigious college basketball tournament. The main characters Susan Carol and and Stevie are excellent writers who were selected to be journalists at this tournament. What they don't know is that they are in for more than just journalism. I loved the Last Shot from start to finish, and I will continue to read other books from the genius of John Feinstein   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Last Shot, by John Feinstein is immediately enticing with its fast paced and twisted plotline following two young reporters caught up in what is truly a &ldquo;Final Four Mystery&rdquo;. Main character Stevie Thomas is an interesting depiction of a young reporter who has found his true passion in the game of basketball. Susan Carol Anderson the other youth reporter, is the perfect complement to Stevie&rsquo;s bitter and often stubborn attitude, as Susan Carol conducts herself in a mature and responsible fashion. The book is written in pretty simple and easy to read language and dialogue making Last Shot a perfect book for young readers and a quick read for those more experienced readers. Whether you&rsquo;re a basketball fan or just someone looking for a good book John Feinstein&rsquo;s Last Shot will not disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago