My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What happens when you mix pimps, time travel, pandas, and leather nuns inside the brain of a deranged bizarro author? You get Time Pimp by Garrett Cook.
Now, I have to admit something: The only book by Garrett Cook I’ve read until now was Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective, which I was not the biggest fan of. It was okay, but even accounting for its noir feel, it still felt very bleak and seemed to be missing a lot the fun that such a situation should have had. Or at least that was my take. So when I started reading “Time Pimp,” it wasn’t without some apprehension.
I’m happy to say that Time Pimp came off completely differently and captures the joy that Jimmy Plush seemed to miss. Time Pimp is a fun, wild ride through time and space, from biblical times to the end of time itself and bizarre worlds with elements that seem random, and yet these random elements fit together perfectly in ways that you can’t even imagine.
The story is bright and colorful. Well, about as bright and colorful as black and white printing can be, but it gives the feeling that everything is bright and colorful. Time Pimp is a pimp (well, duh!). Actually, he’s not just any pimp. He is a pimp whose stable of hos are from every time and planet and can cater to every desire. His client list includes some of the most influential people in history. He is a master of alchemy, can turn basic water into cognac, and drives a giant purple time-traveling Cadillac. But, like the reader, he has no idea how time travel works. It just does.
This is not a difficult thing to overcome for the reader, however. No one (almost) knows how time travel works in this universe, but no one needs to. It’s not important and doesn’t distract from the story at all.
Time Pimp himself is not a caricature, despite what the description sounds like. There are four closely related stories that blend into one. Over the course of these stories, we learn that Time Pimp is actually very flawed and has a history that has led him to the point where the book starts. Time Pimp evolves, learns, and changes in excellent ways, along with other characters. We learn about his archenemy, Death Pimp, and what their relationship is. And we learn about the true nature of the psychic octopi that swim inside the absinthe in his platform shows. If I say much more, I’m afraid that I’ll give too much away.
Yes, all of this fits together, and fits together beautifully in a way that surprisingly doesn’t stretch the imagination. In fact, the evolution of Time Pimp and the other characters goes from being fun and funny to almost touching and thought-provoking, and not in a jarring way, either. In other words, Time Pimp doesn’t jerk you around with a bunch of random and weird stuff. It evolves and actually has a grand and satisfying climax. It’s more than a simple slice in the life of Time Pimp.
If I have one complaint about the book, it’s the editing, which is a real shame. Cook has some really great writing and a great way of phrasing things, not to mention keeping the characters in character so that their dialogue stays consistent. But there are errors throughout the book that bug me. Like in other reviews I’ve written, editing errors are a pet peeve of mine, and tear the reader out of an otherwise sublime story. And there’s enough in this book that I have to detract from the overall score.
If you’re looking a fun read that is still definitely bizarre with good, strangely believable characters that evolve with a story that has a satisfying payoff, then Time Pimp will work nicely for you. Unless you’re a little bitch. You’re not a little bitch, are you?
Time Pimp by Garrett Cook earns 4 fine scotches out of 5.