Book of the Week: ‘Romie Futch’


The New and Improved Romie Futch

Julia Elliott

2015, 378 pages


Romie Futch is a middle-aged taxidermist in South Carolina, obsessed with his ex-wife and deep in debt. Surfing the internet in a drunken haze, Romie sees an ad seeking participants for an “intelligence enhancement study” in Atlanta that promises $6,000. All he has to do is “undergo a series of pedagogical downloads via direct brain-computer interface.” At the Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience, he’s a little creeped out by the downloads, but he goes through with the experiments, and soon, his head is full of humanities. Flush with cash and full of dreams, he refurbishes his shop, pays off bills, gets (mostly) sober, and returns to his first love – art. Romie hunts mutant squirrels and creates postmodern animatronic taxidermy dioramas. But the Center seems to be interfering. He has migraines, blackouts and strange dreams. And he learns the company responsible for the mutant wildlife also funded the Center’s experiments.

Soon Romie gets caught up in the search for Hogzilla, a giant winged wild boar spotted near his home. I don’t want to reveal the whole plot, but suffice to say it’s a rocky road for our hero as he veers between success and self-destruction. Will he get a show at a gallery? Will he bag Hogzilla? Will he spiral into a haze of drugs and alcohol? Or become the remote-control agent of a powerful biotech conglomerate? Hilarious and wicked smart, this novel is a delight. Author Julia Elliott mixes a good story with social commentary and plenty of humor. It was bittersweet to get to the last page, because Romie’s adventures are clearly not over. I sincerely hope he’ll be back for a sequel.

Deb Baker

Concord Public Library

For more information about the library, go to We’re also on Tumblr ( and and Facebook (

Author: The Concord Insider

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Newspaper Family Includes:

Copyright 2024 The Concord Insider - Privacy Policy - Copyright