For What It's Worth

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: When Colors Bleed by Estevan Vega

When Colors BleedWHEN COLORS BLEED is a collection of short stories by the author of ARSON. This collection features three unique stories with universal themes of love, loss, and regret. Watch the colors bleed.
Casey never had any luck with men, even though she was employed by one of the finest clothing stores in New England and saw attractive, “sure kinds” strolling through her section every day like clockwork. At twenty-three years old, she has given up on her dreams of the spotlight, of finding love, and of ever getting out of the small town she reluctantly calls home. But one rainy afternoon, Thomas Rayford, a very unusual and kind stranger, stumbles into her life looking for an odd, baby blue suit. One thing is certain: Casey, the twenty-three-year-old dreamer stuck in a line, will never be the same.
From his cold hell in Block C, a nameless man unfolds this twisted tale. This is the story of a man who becomes something else. A man who had a father once. A man who loved once. “They want to know why. They want a reason,” he confesses. “But nobody likes the reasons. They’re like unwanted children or cancers with no cure. A reason is a justification, an excuse so we can’t be blamed. But I know what it is I’ve done, and there is no reason that can take it back.” So begins Vanilla Red, a confession, a story, a prayer, or perhaps a drip of dark truth in the batter of humanity. Take a look inside and tell me what color you see.
Colin awakens in a room, jittery, afraid, and confused. He knows not how he got here, who brought him, or why. And the only thing waiting for him is a hot cup of coffee and a seemingly flawless room that bleeds colors. As an architect, he understands that no room is perfect, but somehow this anomaly has crawled through the cracks and pushed the limits of perfection. No seams. No lines. No windows. Enter a bald man in a suit. Once he steps through the door, he makes the colors disappear with the push of button. His name is Jack, and he claims to be a friend. Still unsure of anything, Colin wages war with his mind, with a dark truth he isn’t ready to accept, and with Jack. In the moments that follow, Jack asks Colin a series of questions, questions that will reveal the where, the how, and the why of his arrival.

This is the second Estevan Vega book I have read. The first being Arson (read my review here). This author has such a unique writing style; it's very dark and intense, often tapping into the disillusioned, disenfranchised soul. This collection of short stories is no exception.

Baby Blue tells the story of two people reaching out to each other forming a connection but for very different reasons. It is a touching story, both beautiful and heartbreaking.

Vanilla Red is a dark tale. Very dark, but just as fascinating. The reader is immersed into the psyche of a troubled man coming to grips with his childhood, his crimes and his punishment.

The Man in the Colored Room had a much lighter feel* but as always with Vega's stories it explores the human condition as a man struggles to find his reality, answers, forgiveness and peace. (*I say "a lighter feel" but this is Estevan Vega so lighter still equals a dark tale)

These are very short stories, it took me less than 2 hours to finish the book, so I deliberately didn't go into much detail. I hadn't read anything about them myself before diving in and I think that's the best way. With each story I thought I knew where the story was going and how it would end. Each time I was surprised at where Vega took me. 

Baby Blue had me thinking about the random people I meet everyday, realizing there is more going on in people's lives than meets the eye. Vanilla Red had me going "whoa". It made me uncomfortable, and a little scared. The Man in the Colored Room felt a bit incomplete to me but it is still very good. There is a very Edgar Allen Poe/Twilight Zone quality to each tale.

If your a fan of darker fare and can handle tougher subject matter then give this collection a try. Estevan Vega is an author to watch.

Rating: 3 out 4

Find Estevan Vega:

Buy the Book! When Colors Bleed

Source: Copy provided by the author for my honest review


  1. I have been reading more short stories lately and have really been enjoying them. This sounds like a great collection - I'll have to check it out soon. Great review!

    Bonnie @ HandsAndHome

  2. I bought this a while back but haven't gotten around to reading it. Now that I'm curious about what had you feeling uncomfortable, I want to give it a go. LOL

  3. Thanks for the review. Glad you liked it...and that it unsettled you a bit. It's supposed to. More coming soon. Get stoked!

  4. Thanks for the review, honey! I like to get the low-down from someone I trust. :-)