Review: Cin City

Cin City
A Luci Wijn Novel
by  Jamie Campbell

Copyright 2016 Eltham Press and Jamie Campbell
Print length 162 pages

I have two admissions to make up front. First, I normally do not review romance or erotica in
any form. Second, I spent almost seven years of my life supporting my two daughters through
more than twenty USTA Junior Tennis tournaments each year and they are still dealing with the
stress of varsity college tennis. I have personally watched my daughters fetch balls at
professional Challenger matches and watched the ‘tennis hopefuls’ gamble, often fruitlessly, for
their tennis futures and a few dollars to cover their expenses. Tennis, in my opinion, is a great
personal social game, but for a young tournament player hoping to turn professional it is a near
fruitless gamble. Where there may be some inconsistent income for those who make the top one
hundred, public recognition and the big bucks are limited to the top ten or so. And, being ranked
in the eighties as Luci Wijn is in Cin City, much less in the three-hundreds like Shannon Smith is
a miserably long way from the top. Yet many young international players like Shannon Smith
and Luci Wijn chose to invest at least a couple of years of their lives in their dreams of achieving
a top one hundred, or better, a top fifty ranking that would provide them a base to strive toward
the top ten. Almost all leave friends and family behind. Most, like Shannon, leave their coaches
behind; traveling coaches, trainers and hitting partners are for the very few who have financial
backing from family and friends. Most can barely pay for travel and entry fees to keep their
dreams alive and yet most are desperately seeking to change their native circumstances anyway

So it is with Shannon Smith, a nineteen year-old, from New Zealand who had the good fortune to
grow up playing tennis with her father and ‘brother’. After they became national mixed doubles
competitors in New Zealand, she worked on her singles game and began some international play,
eventually evolving to Challenger tournaments in the United States and Canada. Shannon is
young and bit immature, and although players at this level know each other and interact, the
personal distance enforced by constant competition with each other makes it a lonely existence.
Being from New Zealand, she cannot see her family between tournaments; she maintains contact
through her ‘brother’ in Canada and by telephone.

Cheating on line calls is a way of life for many tennis players, and Shannon can’t resist calling
out the girl-friend of a highly ranked male player for cheating. However, lacking the courage to
confront the cheater personally, she trashes her through flirting innuendo with the boy-friend,
Doug. Over a period of several tournaments, Shannon and Doug develop a passing acquaintance
with the potential to develop into more.

Luci Wijn, on the other hand, is a player ranked in the eighties from Belgium. Ironically, Luci is
the one cheated by Doug’s girlfriend and Shannon’s angst about it is because Luci and Shannon
are scheduled to play doubles together and eventually, they become a successful doubles team.
However, Luci has developed an unhealthy relationship with her coach who dislikes Shannon
because he knows she sees his manipulation of Luci for what it is. Despite this, Luci and
Shannon both need a friend, and establish a loose friendship.

Cin City is a documentary of a year in the life of Shannon Smith as she struggles to grow up in
the face of loneliness, few friends, boredom and constant competition. It is well written and
edited. However, most readers do not need to know the intimate details of Shannon’s sex with
Doug or the state of her sexual organs afterwards. I think most readers would characterize that as
“too much information”.

On whole, Cin City, (a misunderstanding of ‘Cinnci’ a colloquial name for The Cincinnati
Challenger and perhaps a play on words referring to the sexual side of this book) should appeal
to those who are interested in young adult romance, stories of struggling sports professionals,
women’s tennis or just stories about families and the personal interactions of individuals. It
contains gratuitous sex and profanity.

Clabe Polk

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