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Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery (Final Four Mysteries)by John Feinstein
Synopses & Reviews
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 whos 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 couldnt see was saying. “Your locker room is the first one you come to on your right.”
“As if they cant read the signs,” Stevie said.
“He must have forgotten that theyre 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 Carols 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, weve got about two minutes to get this straight before the press conference,” the suit said. “You cant 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 wont do it?”
“Then the team gets stripped of all its wins and your father gets fired. Weve 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 Grabers voice again. “This is unbelievable.”
“Hey, Chip, the worlds a cold place sometimes. Cooperate and youll 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 well all walk away happy.”
“But what if we lose Saturday? Theres no guarantee well win that game. Why does it have to be Monday?”
“Thats not something you need to worry about. You just play your butt off against St. Joes and choke against Duke. Well take care of the rest.”
“Ill get you for this. All of you.”
“Please. You dont even know who we are. And if you try anything with me, the roof will fall in on you and your dad. Now lets go. Youve 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 Im crazy, we just heard the best player in the country being blackmailed to throw the championship game.”
“Yeah, thats what I heard too. But he has to win tomorrow. Isnt that weird? I dont 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?”
“Thats what Graber asked. Theres got to be a reason why it has to be Monday. And he said he had to lose to Duke on Monday. Hows 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 dont know. Tell someone?”
“But who?” she asked. “Whod believe us?”
“Good question,” he said. “I barely believe us. Man, I wanted a story no one else had, but this is insane. Lets get out of here. Its spooky.”
She didnt argue.
As they opened the doors that led back to the hallway and the bright lights hit Stevies eyes, he felt like he was leaving a movie. But there was no leaving. Now he and Susan Carol were part of the movie.
From the Hardcover edition.
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.
Steven Thomas is one of two lucky winners of the U.S. Basketball Writers Associations contest for aspiring journalists. His prize? A trip to New Orleans and a coveted press pass for the Final Four. Its a basketball junkies dream come true!
But the games going on behind the scenes between the coaches, the players, the media, the money-men, and the fans turn out to be even more fiercely competitive than those on the court. Steven and his fellow winner, Susan Carol Anderson, are nosing around the Superdome and overhear what sounds like a threat to throw the championship game. Now they have just 48 hours to figure out who is blackmailing one of MSUs star players . . . and why.
Praise for John Feinstein:
“The best writer of sports books in America today.”—The Boston Globe
“Feinsteins beat, it turns out, isnt sports; its human nature.”—People on A March to Madness
“A basketball junkies nirvana.”—Sports Illustrated on A March to Madness
“One of the best sportswriters alive!”—Larry King, USA Today on A Good Walk Spoiled
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
John Feinstein is the author of many bestselling sports books, including A Season on the Brink and A Good Walk Spoiled. Feinstein worked for The Washington Post as both a political and sports reporter for more than 10 years and continues to contribute articles. He is a regular commentator for National Public Radio and Sporting News Radio and an essayist for CBS Sports. He lives with his wife, son, and daughter in Bethesda, MD, and Shelter Island, NY.
From the Hardcover edition.
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