"The Last Shot," by Dave Waskin, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, September/October 2023.
I don't usually notice a theme in issues of AHMM or EQMM but this one is centered on games. Last week I wrote about a boxing story. This week it's basketball. There's also baseball, computer games, and I haven't finished it yet.
But let's get to Waskin's tale.
Connor is a college ball player but he knows he isn't good enough to make it to the NBA. That's just the tip of the iceberg of his problems: his father's in prison, his girlfriend seems to be out of his league, and he's having trouble with his classes.
And then the team's star player tries to drag him into a point-shaving scam with some very nasty gangsters.
But that's just the surface. There are layers within layers here, wheels within wheels.I won't go further except to say Connor has enemies and allies you won't expect. I enjoyed this one a lot.