Barth continues to explore the New York crime scene, once again without his engaging senior citizen sleuth Margaret Binton (Deadly Climate, etc.). This outing's hero is Costas Agonomou- -Vietnam vet, 18 years in the NYPD, now on unpaid suspension for killing an unarmed suspect. His onetime mentor Verne, a retired cop, who heads the security force at Brooklyn's St. Bartlett's College, gets him a job there. All is peaceful, if boring, until art Professor Ponzini gets killed in a workout room in the middle of the night, seemingly by accident. That's what smooth President Malloy calls it, threatening to dismiss Verne because of the circumstances surrounding it. Costas, determined to save Verne's job, starts an investigation of his own and opens a Pandora's box of secrets among faculty and students, ranging from blackmail to AIDS, alcoholism, and more, culminating in a tense, if overdrawn, shootout finale at the school's crucial basketball game. Costas, given to much wordy introspection, tells the story. It's a mildly interesting one, especially for basketball fans, but Costas lacks Margaret's charisma, and The Final Shot may leave the reader wishing for her speedy return.