Lost in the System

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Headlines

"A compelling blend of science fiction, mystery, and redemption"
"Quantum Leap meets Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
"A smart, snarky, irreverent Quantum Leap"
"A twenty-fourth century grifter's world shatters when he comes face to face with a holy God."

Blurb-104 words

Jaded, 24th century grifter Smullian O’Toole has been sentenced to 1000 days of Life Modification Therapy. The system transports his consciousness into different 21st century hosts. On day 777, he hears a disembodied voice utter, “Father to the Fatherless.” What seems a simple code hiccough traps him in hosts associated with missing teen, David Hawthorne. As he attempts to find the boy, Smullian is plunged into the depths of his own childhood trauma, peeling back the façade he’s placed between himself and the world. Smullian thought the Father to the Fatherless only cared about David but realizes the Father also wants to save him.

Synopsis-268 words

Smullian O’Toole, grifter, enjoys serving his prison term. Other than the daily upchucking, Life Modification Therapy is the sweetest sentence 24th century Earth offers. The system biotransposes his essence into a different 21st century person daily, whereas his body stays in the future. The therapy rehabilitates felons by teaching them the value of honest labor. Not that Smullian plans to be rehabilitated. He loves his life and his nefarious ways. Besides, he’s not a bad guy. He has rules. He doesn’t grift anyone who can’t afford it or who doesn’t deserve it.
On day 777, Smullian hears a disembodied voice utter, “Father to the Fatherless.” Thus, begins the mother of all system glitches that shatters Life Mod rules and regulations. Instead of following the usual program, the system thrusts Smullian into the case of David Hawthorne, a missing teenaged orphan. The case cuts a little to close to home for the grifter, who has been on his own since he was twelve.
As Smullian bounces from host to host, he realizes the glitch shows purpose and design. Someone, maybe the Father to the Fatherless, controls the situation, not the technicians at Life Mod. This someone peels back the façade Smullian has placed between himself and the world. Against his will, he begins to care about the kid and his older sister, Lydia. Each new host forces him to confront his own inner demons—as well as pointing him to David.

What initially seems like the clear-cut case of a runaway—grows more ominous with every clue. Smullian knows he’s not the hero type. But he’s all David has.

Themes-91 words

Lost in the System explores what would happen when an unsaved person comes face to face with a holy God. Instead of a moral person surrounded by a sea of immoral people, Lost in the System depicts one unsaved person surrounded by a sea of believers. It attempts to address the hard questions unbelievers often ask about Christianity, such as “How can God let bad things happen to his children?”
● Features themes of doubt and redemption ● Features themes of faith during suffering ● Features themes of abandonment and acceptance

Advance Praise

Delightfully Wild Ride

Lost in the System takes us on a delightfully wild ride that shows us ourselves and the unpredictable God who seeks us out. Through the eyes of a 24th century, time-traveling conman, Nancy had me hooked from the very first chapter!

Mark DeVries Founder of Ministry Architects

Page Turning

Nancy Jo Wilson has found a way to weave together science fiction, faith, and contemporary society in surprising and page turning ways. I can honestly say I've rarely seen a male protagonist so well-rendered by a female author.

Hunter Baker
Dean of Arts and Sciences Union University

Time-travel book with a twist

Lost in the System is an entertaining, insightful, and fast-paced time-travel book with a twist. Author Nancy Wilson weaves a unique and fascinating story around Smullian O'Toole, a likable "grifter" who has landed in trouble with 24th-century legal authorities. Smully's time-traveling adventures are sometimes hilarious and often poignant as he barrels toward a surprising and powerful resolution. Well done!

Kay DiBianca, award-winning author of The Watch on the Fencepost and Dead Man's Watch 

Interesting, irreverent, intelligent 

Science fiction is not my go-to genre when choosing a new book: I prefer a good crime mystery. Yet I was intrigued by the summary of Lost in the System. I’m so glad I opted to read it! This story punches in from the first paragraph, introducing the reader to Smullian O’Toole, a young grifter from the twenty- fourth century. He readily admits being guilty, and is comfortable participating in a new method of prisoner rehabilitation. The author skillfully creates a character who is likeable, interesting, irreverent, intelligent and adaptive in his circumstances. The story takes on a deeper edge when a “glitch” in this future-based system creates a multifaceted mystery. There are no dull moments in this fiction. Most amazing for me was that embedded in this well-written, sci-fi mystery are thoughts and truths about faith, strength, hope and love that have kept me thinking long after the last page was turned.

Judy Karge, author A Light in the Darkness: A Reflection on Proverbs