Synopsis of "Last Shot" by John Feinstein

by Ann LaPan
The book's setting is a college basketball championship game.

The book's setting is a college basketball championship game.

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Getty Images

"Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery (Final Four Mysteries)" is a story for teens that surrounds the championship Final Four game between Duke University and Minnesota State University. It's a suspenseful story with well-developed characters that casts a spotlight on the corruption and commercialism of college sports, while dispensing random bouts of well-needed comic relief. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger that compels the reader onward.


Famous people of the college basketball world appear throughout the story, making the well-developed fictitious characters even more believable. Eighth-grade students who have won writing contests and do not know each other before the book begins are the main characters. Steven Thomas, nicknamed Stevie, is a passionate aspiring sports writer. He meets up with Susan Carol Anderson, who is intelligent, beautiful, quick-witted and a fan of Duke. Their journalism and investigate skills are challenged as the story unfolds. Chip Graber is the basketball player whom Stevie and Carol are compelled to help because his career has been threatened. Other characters include a coach, Dean Wojenski, who turns out to be a bad guy and Mr. Jurgensen, a lawyer, who turns out to be a good guy.


The story is set during the NCAA Final Four men's basketball tournament in New Orleans, which Stevie and Carol are attending as the prize for winning the writing contest. They are given press passes and assignments to write for their hometown papers. They overhear Chip, a star player on the Minnesota team, being blackmailed into throwing a game. They launch into the dilemma of how to help him and solve the surrounding mystery.


Stevie and Carol confront a distraught Chip and offer to help him. In an effort to unravel the mystery and to get Chip free to play the game, the three visit a friend of Chip's father, Dean Wojenski, to try to enlist his help. After they leave, they notice that they are being followed by the lawyer, Jurgensen. Tensions rise in a suspenseful chase scene.


The story twists and peaks with Stevie and Carol finding themselves kidnapped when they turn to the wrong person for help. Chip is told that they will only be released if he throws the game. Stevie and Carol are rescued. When they arrive at the game, they see that Chip's team is losing. When Chip realizes that they are OK, he comes back to score a three-pointer in the final seconds, and the day is saved.

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