Travelers: A Freaks Novel

by Brett Riley

Travelers by Brett Riley

Falling in love. Evading the authorities. Chasing the rabbits.

Now high school sophomores, the self-styled “Freaks” are back in class in quiet Quapaw City, Arkansas. They grapple with the ordinary challenges of everyday teen life: cliques, cars, and crushes. While everything appears normal on the surface, looks have rarely been more deceiving. A secret government task force—fully aware of the unusual powers the Freaks have acquired—is determined to capture them. Even as the mysterious Baltar Sterne shares ancient wisdom and offers hope, a new menace silently emerges in the woods outside of town. Clever, inexorable, and far more lethal than the Freaks’ first superhuman foe, this traveler from another world possesses powers that can only be described as godlike. The Freaks and their town will be tested in horrific ways they are powerless to predict or even imagine.

Travelers was published on August 2, 2022. The third installment, Rubicons, was published on August 1, 2023.

Author picture

Brett Riley is a professor of English at the College of Southern Nevada. He grew up in southeastern Arkansas and earned his Ph.D. in contemporary American fiction and film at Louisiana State University. His short fiction has appeared in numerous publications including Folio, The Wisconsin Review, and The Baltimore Review. Riley’s debut novel, Comanche, was released in September 2020, followed by Lord of Order in April 2021.  Freaks, a superhero thriller featuring dangerous aliens and badass high school kids was published in March 2022.  The second novel in the Freaks series, Travelers, was released in August 2022 and the third installment in the series, Rubicons, was published in August 2023.  Riley lives in Henderson, Nevada.

Travelers flows well, such like the original Freaks novel, and allows for some character development, as well as providing interesting insight into the trickster who is clearly dangerous, but also has social justice on its mind as it speaks of the atrocities committed against the Indigenous people of North America. Indeed, the subject matter is interesting, thought provoking, and adds an unexpected emotional layer as the Freaks continue their journey to adulthood.”–Don Sauer, (08/15/2023)

Travelers By Brett Riley was an extraordinary read. It was so creepy and strange and extremely well-written. Brett wrote another winner that completely held me captive till the amazing ending. The book is riveting. Compelling and totally different. I read it one sitting and was seriously bummed it had to end. His writing is remarkable and had me wanting more. I devoured Travelers and his ones before this. I will read anything he writes.”–Rubie Clark, NetGalley (01/30/2022)

“I really enjoyed being able to get inside the head of the “monsters”, and am intrigued by the path Micah seems to be taking. I read this shortly after Freaks, so everything was still fresh in my head. I feel like this would be an excellent recommendation for fans of Stranger Things, and will need to get a copy for my shelf posthaste!”–Michael Turpin, Educator, Hale Charter Academy, Woodland Hills, CA., NetGalley (11/01/2022)

“What a fantastic use of mythology. I absolutely loved the premise and characters in Brett Riley’s Travelers! This is a must read book. Well done!”–Sheila Lynn, NetGalley (07/08/2022)

“After reading Freaks I was honored with being given the opportunity to read and listen to Travelers almost immediately after. I’m very curious if it’s just going to end where it is or if there will be a third book. Either way, it was well written and for being someone who isn’t a huge fan of Stranger Things type stories, I think this author and narrator have won my heart forever! It was a page-turner and there as so much action and excitement. Was very sad for it to end.–Emily Cook, NetGalley (06/27/2022)

“I enjoyed this superhero novel set in Arkansas (a place not given much attention to). I appreciated the LGBTQIA+ representation especially for a book set in Arkansas. I do plan on continuing with this series.”–Kaitlynn Ingram, NetGalley (08/09/2022)

“I really enjoyed this book! The characters are likeable, their social struggles are believable… heck, even their struggles as newly-minted “freaks” are believable! I’m definitely going to check out the first novel of this series when my TBR is a little lighter, but I really enjoyed this and would recommend this series to anyone looking for a nice change of pace (which I was!)”–Jamie Edwards, NetGalley (08/04/2022)

“Fantastic follow up to the book Freaks. I really loved the original book and this one was just as good. Fast paced and interesting! Loved it!”–Susie Rendle, Educator, Rendle Academy, NetGalley (08/02/2022)

“Ever drive through Southeastern Arkansas and wondered why there are no trees? It’s because the Freaks have returned to play havoc with the forests. This time they’re aided in their woody eradication by gloop-shooting FBI agents. At least the Freaks are a little nicer to each other than they were in the first novel, Freaks. They can still be catty to each other, but there is romance in the air and being snarky doesn’t improve one’s love life. They are insulting to the weird uncle, but heck, who wouldn’t want a creepy, kookie, altogether spooky uncle who does magic and drives a Lexus? This is the fourth book I’ve read this year with icky, villainous rabbits. Are itty-bitty bunny rabbits the new monsters in books? Bitsy bunny did make for a cool cover for Travelers. If you can get past the wanton treeicide, it’s a pretty exciting book. Some good, scary monsters in addition to criminal bunnies.”–Linda Marshall, NetGalley (07/15/2022)

“Brett Riley has done it again, as he continues his story of teenage supers battling monsters – fantasy beasts and Government agents alike. An enthralling, fast paced, fantasy horror.”–Peter Thorburn, NetGalley (01/31/2022)

“Riley weaves explorations of anger issues and budding romance as well as forthrightly confronted themes of racial, religious, and class conflict.”Kirkus Reviews, (05/25/2022)

“Riley possesses a rare, writerly ability to remain in the moment once the action heats up. In this installment, the Freaks face their most dangerous enemy yet, and the menace fairly leaps off the page.”–Paul Eberly, (12/27/2021)

“A great spin on the superhero story, told with genuine depth.”—Mark Waid, best-selling author of History of the Marvel Universe, Doctor Strange, and Superman Birthright. (07/12/21)

“The different perspectives given in this book really helped me understand the plot and I think it overall enhanced the story so much more. I thought the end was a bit drawn out, but regardless I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation until the last minute. I also loved the complexity of the characters. At first I had some pretty stubborn views on each of the characters, but throughout the story those views developed and it was a lovely example of how people, much like most things in life, are never black and white, but there’s a lot of grey that we have yet to be exposed to!”–Stephanie Rovirosa, (12/04/2021)

“A fun and fresh twist on the superhero story! Fast-paced, strong characters, and twists and turns make this a must read!”—Jennifer Brody/Vera Strange, author of The 13th Continuum Trilogy, Spectre Deep 6, and the Disney Chills series. (07/10/21)

“This book is dark and delicious in the best way. The author took this book in whatever direction he wanted, and I absolutely loved a lot of the details.”—Rachel LaBerge, NetGalley. (08/05/21)

Hardback: $18.99 US ISBN: 9781945501470 — First Edition: August 2022
Paperback: $14.99 US ISBN: 9781945501760 — First Edition: August 2022
ePUB: $9.99 US ISBN: 9781945501753
Audiobook: $29.00 ISBN: 9781945501777
Unabridged, Nine hours, 23 Minutes and 9 Seconds;  Narrated by P. J. Morgan; Production by BeeAudio Ltd. & Imbrifex Books Audio

Related Books

Lord of Order

by Brett Riley

The Purge is here. New Orleans must die. Six conflicted conspirators gird for battle, fully aware that the looming apocalypse will demand horrific choices, test their faith, and require them to join forces with their sworn enemies.
“Darkly humorous and brutal, Lord of Order takes readers on a violent gun-slinging wade through a visceral, blood-soaked swamp of human frailty and redemption ... I’ll be searching out the author’s back catalogue whilst awaiting the sequel.”—Lee Doughty, GrimDark Magazine
“A convincingly bleak vision of the future … Those who like their dystopias especially gritty will want to take a look.”Publishers Weekly
“The past is future in this sweaty, swampy, gun-slinging first cousin to dystopian classics like The Handmaid’s Tale and Fahrenheit 451. Lord of Order crackles. Grab your gear, double down on the ammo, Brett Riley’s dystopian action thriller will have you reaching for a whisky and your six-shooter.”—Stephen Scott Whitaker, National Book Critics Circle.
“Brett Riley writes hardcore action, his literary point the hypocrisy and perfidy of extremist fundamentalisms that trample all freedom and humanity.”—Douglas Unger, author of Pulitzer finalist Leaving the Land

Comanche: A Novel

by Brett Riley

LIKE THE CYLINDER IN A SIX SHOOTER, WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND. In a tiny Texas town, a team of investigators tries to solve a string of murders that appear to be linked to a Wild West gunslinger’s brutal death two hundred years ago.
"A clever, imaginative blend of literary fiction, historical fiction, horror, dark humor, and detective procedural."— Si Dunn, Lone Star Literary Life. (10/25/2020)
"Debut novelist Riley tells a quite deliciously twisted tale. The novel is a lot of fun, with a very entertaining story and a great cast of characters."— David Pitt, Booklist. (04/10/20)
"COWBOY GHOSTS AND A MURDER MYSTERY!!!!!! I love westerns so much. Possibly the only thing I love more than westerns is a good crime fiction story. And the only thing I love more than a good crime fiction story is a legit, scare-your-pants-off ghost story. This book has it all! With different chapters taking place in different years, the reader gets to experience The Kid’s post-mortem reign of terror in two different centuries. Four Stars!"—Shannon Bollig, (06/30/20)
"One of the best meldings of the traditional detective novels and the supernatural that I’ve read in recent history. I really enjoyed this book. It’s more ghost adventure than detective mystery, but if that’s what you’re in the mood for, you’ll enjoy Comanche. 4-Stars"— Kristopher McClanahan, Tabletops and Tentacles -- (06/05/20)
"Brett Riley's COMANCHE is the best western-horror-thriller-ghost story-PI novel ever written. COMANCHE is a rollicking ride. Fans of Joe Lansdale and James Lee Burke, Brett Riley is the author you didn't know you loved." —Tod Goldberg, author of Gangsterland and Gangster Nation. (02/28/20)

Rubicons: A Freaks Novel

by Brett Riley

Finding themselves. Fighting together. Growing apart. It’s junior year in Quapaw City, Arkansas. With it comes a new foe that even the Freaks cannot thwart--adulthood....
"I've been reading the Freaks Saga since the beginning and I've enjoyed each entry getting stronger and stronger. The characters themselves have grown and been done really well, and I've enjoyed the plot and going through this world. I can't wait to read more from Brett Riley as this series has made me a fan. "The next day, Kenneth and Ty went to Elvis Schott’s funeral. None of the other Freaks had come. No big surprise. Any of them would have looked and felt out of place after all those years when Marla had ignored or tormented them."--Kathryn McLeer, NetGalley FIVE STARS (09/16/2022)