Sangre: The Wrong Side of Tomorrow by Carlos Colón is the second installment to follow Nicky Negron on his path to construct a life between the undead and the living. Reinventing himself as Jorge Sangria, Nicky stakes the romanticized version of a vampire through the heart, revitalizing Bram Stoker’s Dracula into the modern-era. He struggles to balance human morality with his one basic need. Blood. Nourished by the lesser of two evils, this predatory killer rids the city of unwanted thugs. Instead of thanking him, the FBI targets his possible involvement in a string of drug-related decapitations. The ability to remain beneath their investigative radar proves difficult as the woman who turned him reemerges with a vengeance. The singular purpose to destroy her creates an unlikely alliance with a dis-credited epidemiologist whose determination to eliminate society of these ‘anomalies’ causes their alliance to teeter along a fine line of trust.
“I am a menace? Let us go back a bit, shall we? Since we’ve met, you’ve doused me in Holy Water, which is like acid to me, you had those young men take batting practice on my head, then you had them throw me down your basement and lock me in a box. Shall I continue?”
Written in first-person, the reader connects on a deeper level with Nicky, witnessing first-hand the struggle to satisfy his urges while maintaining his humanity. A surprising revelation at the end, however, shows how much more human than monster Nicky really is. The narrative flows smoothly, and Colón stays true to vampire lore. I found certain aspects of the novel difficult to read, not from a failure in style, but content. Some things are better left unwritten.
Leave romantic notions of vampirism behind. Lustful. Cruel. Murderous. Everything a vampire should be. Give him a conscious, and he’s a force to reckon with.