Book Reviews

End of the Line (Rail Riders 1) by Nicky James

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Action/Adventure
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 03-September-2021

Book Blurb

When a boy who has everything meets a boy who has nothing, life will never be the same again.

Leopold Van Eschen is in big trouble. All the money in the world won’t save him from what he’s done. On the run, desperate to get away, Leo finds himself seeking help from a bunch of vagabonds he meets in a railyard.
Leo has no idea his whole world is about to change.

Killian has been homeless and living on the fly for nine years. The closest thing he has to family is a group of fellow freight-hoppers. With the wind at his back and the whole world stretched out before him, he’s happy. It’s not an easy life, but you can’t put a price on freedom.

A chance run-in with a wealthy stranger turns Killian’s world upside down. Leo’s cute and desperate to get away. Without knowing a thing about him, Killian and his friends help Leo escape the city.

It doesn’t take long before Killian realizes the boy he’s slowly falling for has dark secrets.

Who is Leo running from?

What happened to make Leo want to give up a life of wealth to live the life of a vagabond instead?

Book Review

“Well, it's alright… if you live the life you please… even when push comes to shove… if you got someone to love… everything'll work out fine... we're going to the end of the line.” ~ The Traveling Wilburys (End of the Line)


Killian and his friends, of ‘The End of the Line’ by Nicky James, watch in horror as a man scales a fence into the rail yard and barely avoids train cars coupling and uncoupling. When he attempts to jump onto a moving train, Killian can’t stand it any longer. He runs to rescue the man, whose name is Leo, and drags him to where he and his friends are hiding.


None of Killian’s companions are happy about having a greenhorn around, but Killian senses Leo’s fear and hesitates to leave him there. Anyone so desperate to get away has to be running from something terrible. When Leo begs for Killian to take him with them, Killian isn’t sure, but when Leo offers him money, well, money talks. Since Leo’s clothing screams expensive and will attract attention, they outfit him with spare clothes to camouflage his appearance. With the warning “Don’t fall!” they prepare to board the train. Miraculously, Leo makes it. Just like that, he enters the world of rail riders.


His fellow travelers are a rag-tag bunch who revel in being free to go wherever they want and do whatever they want. They don’t have roots or responsibilities. It’s a culture shock for Leo, but instead of being a snob about it, he takes it in stride, learning to accept their lifestyle as they go along. His accepting attitude and willingness to adapt win the others over. Everyone in the group has secrets, but they adhere to a “rail rider code”. Unless someone wants to tell you about their lives, you do not ask. Leo and Killian grow close and inescapably become lovers. Finally, Leo tells Killian why he ran and Killian tries to help but only makes things worse. When Leo’s old life catches up with him, the authorities separate them; Killian and Leo don’t know if they will ever be together again. 


This book is one of the best I’ve read in a while. In some ways, the rail riders remind me of a dark version of the children’s movie The Island of Misfit Toys where the toys were all “damaged”, making them feel unworthy, but they still search for someone who will love them just as they are. Thanks, Nicky, for the exceptional characters, along with the lesson on rail rider culture and the importance of family. I look forward to learning about the rest of the group as the series continues.



DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book was purchased by the reviewer.


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel
Heat Level
Publication Date 28-July-2021
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link