Sangre: The Color of Dying by Carlos Colón

SangreNicky Negrón has been a vampire for 25 years. He has his routine set for getting the blood he needs – working in a blood bank and feeding on low-life criminals. He’s a vampire, but a rare individual who didn’t lose his conscience completely. He even visits his widowed wife to watch her and see that she’s well treated by his replacement. Despite being a long time dead he’s still in touch with his humanity, his family from afar, and the habits of his old life.

The story is told in the first person and it’s through that point of view that we get to know Nicky. He gives us his biography, his story, interspersed through the present day events. We learn about family relationships, life growing up in the Bronx, playing baseball, and meeting and courting his wife. These are some of the things that kept him from becoming a merciless bloodsucker. The fondness of the character for these aspects of his life really comes through and makes him a likeable and genuine protagonist.

We get his point of view of the vampire life, from blood quality to debunking popular vampire myths. We see the unglamourous struggle it is to be a vampire. His inability to let go of his family and to avoid relationships gets him in lots of trouble.

There are those out there looking to destroy his kind – those who’ve lost loved ones to his kind. Then there is the woman who turned him. She’s powerful, more powerful than most vampires. She ruined his life and she’s back to take his city.

As much of the focus is on Nicky and his journey and relationships, it is a slow burn in parts. It’s a character piece and so there is not as much violence as you might expect. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as his story and coming to terms with his vampirism is interesting. This is a more human spin on vampirism and it’s definitely worth a read.

7/10

Book Cover Blurb:

Introducing Nicky Negrón, a Bronx-born, Puerto Rican salesman who has suffered enough tragedy for multiple lifetimes.  After a business dinner in New York City, Nicky’s life is cut short at the hands of a ravishing undead woman at the Ritz-Carlton, resulting in a public sex scandal that leaves a legacy of humiliation for his surviving wife and children. When he rises from the dead, he becomes a night predator that feeds on human blood as well. The difference is, Nicky has a genetic resistance that retains his humanity – a trait that makes him reluctant to victimize innocents. Hampered  by conscience, he instead decides to feed on what he deems are the undesirables of society—prisoners, sexual predators, domestic abusers and others that lower the quality of life around him.  Sangre: The Color of Dying features rough language, jaw-dropping sex, and abhorrent acts of violence, but its real emphasis is on the human being living inside the undead night stalker. Nicky values his family, his ethnicity, and is determined to hold on to his humanity, even if it’s just by rooting for the Mets, watching old Seinfeld episodes or reminiscing about the love he once shared with his wife. Readers are already falling in love with Nicky and this thrilling tale that takes supernatural horror in a completely new direction!