Dodger loves riding the rails. Even with his 30th birthday in his sights, he still longs for the freedom and excitement of catching out on a freight train. His father wants him to take over his business and Dodger does work for him in the winter, but the summers belong to Dodger. The rail riders are his community and there have been riders that have gone missing, and Dodger is certain there is a serial killer targeting riders.
Brady has gotten several degrees already, but he loves school. When he can’t focus on his thesis, Brady also has been studying the missing riders and has come up with his own theory about a killer on the loose. But Brady is not a rider and he needs insider information. When a mutual friend connects Brady with Dodger, the two of them share their knowledge and know they need more proof and actual evidence. Dodger doesn’t want to investigate on his own and insists that Brady join him. Except, Brady is not a rider and he’s not made for that life. Brady sticks to a set schedule and following Dodger would be all kinds of trouble for him, one issue being that Brady is attracted to Dodger and Dodger definitely sees himself as straight. At least, he has until he meets Brady and their summer journey can lead to all kinds of unexpected findings.
Catching Out brings us to the third book in the Rail Riders series, which feature stories about a tight group that lives on the fly catching freight trains. Dodger has been seen throughout the series and Brady is introduced here. The group and the larger plot are already formed, and this book runs along the timeline for the second book, Lost at the Crossing, so this book would work best having read the prior stories.
Dodger is part of the group of riders that we have met throughout this series that have become a family. He’s been riding the rails for years and loves everything about it and never sees himself settling down. Brady is the opposite, as he has never traveled much, his mind is usually going super fast, and he’s focused on finishing his degrees and then moving forward in a career. Brady has gotten involved in the story of the rail serial killer and it’s taken over a lot of his time.
The characters in this series are well written and it’s been easy to visualize this group of travelers. I liked Brady and Dodger together for many reasons. I liked that Dodger didn’t back away from his attraction to Brady, but took some time to sort himself out and I liked that Brady has no filter and let Dodger know immediately how he felt about him. Dodger and Brady were great together as they spent intense time together traveling and they both helped settle each other in different ways.
The larger story of the serial killer didn’t appeal to me as much. The two men spend most of the book tracking down evidence on less traveled train routes and this part of the journey was bland in comparison. Even when they were adding to their collection of evidence, the stops were too similar to each other for me and then since this part of the story is still continuing, it felt too unfinished by the end for how much of the book was dedicated to it. Also, money is not an issue for Brady, and I didn’t get why they didn’t get him some protective knee pads as he tried to navigate jumping on and off of moving trains, which was something Dodger thought everyone should just be able to do. I know Dodger had his own issues, but I also didn’t care for the way Dodger treated Brady sometimes, especially toward the end of the book where his actions were extreme considering the circumstances.
The best parts of the book for me were seeing Dodger and Brady fall for each other and then seeing the riding group again in scenes throughout the book. There will be one more book for Willow, another interesting character, and then maybe the larger story will be tied up as well.