SÁNGRE: The Color of Dying by Carlos Colón, published by Hellbound Books, is a very unapologetic vampire tale that involves chili con carne, gothed out thralls, a touch of undead voyeurism, and heated discussions on the prospects of the Mets.
Colón’s protagonist, Nicky, comes off strong. He’s been dead for nearly thirty years by the time the reader is introduced and has developed a habit of drinking the blood of criminals to ride a moral line between his hunger and his heart. Nicky is aggressively blunt, a little horny, and remarkably straightforward about his vampirism. Colón tells the story from Nicky’s perspective, weaving a tale about revenge into a series of flashbacks that deliver Nicky’s motivations to the reader in slices of New York-flavored life and loss.
SÁNGRE: The Color of Dying is a tale about vampires, there is blood, sex, bloody sex, vampire thralls kitted out in black leather, and a little more sex just for flavor. There is no sparkling vampire to woo young women into carnal acts, Nicky relies on an aggressively masculine approach to bend his lovers to his will. Colón borrows a touch of Noir in this area, women need rescuing and wooing, the villain wears a red dress and ignites overwhelming passion in her intended victims, and love and desire are always touched with darkness.
Nicky is not an overly sympathetic character. His actions are direct, his thoughts are hard edged, and he rarely spends time considering the details before he solves a problem with a vampiric power, a threat, or the edge of his knife hidden in his stylish suede jacket. Nicky gets things done, one way or another, even at the expense of his family and friends. His unrelenting nature gives him the edge in his conflict with the vampire that turned him. I don’t think I would invite Nicky out for a quick drink, blood or otherwise. Colón doesn’t worry about the small things, Nicky has a job to do whether it is saving a potential lover from an abusive ex or protecting his family that believes he’s been dead for decades. Nicky moves through the plot like a fanged wrecking ball.
SÁNGRE: The Color of Dying is one part revenge tale, one part streetwise vampire Americana. Add a liberal dose of hardboiled, sharp-toothed night stalker and you have the full recipe for Colón’s take on the undead. SÁNGRE: The Color of Dying leaves the door open for Nicky’s story to grow. The story is fast, direct and uncomplicated by the vagaries of traditional vampire drama.