Author Profile

Daniel BenTal

Daniel BenTal

Writer, educator.

Soul Custody is a breakneck rollercoaster tale of political and familial intrigue that takes the reader to the sands of Iraq, the pristine lawns of Beverly Hills and the war-torn waters of the Persian Gulf. Pilot Douglas Graham is shot down over enemy lines in Iraq and is held in captivity by a local insurgent group. As the United States and Israel prepare to negotiate for the American pilot's life, an unexpected figure come to the fore. Douglas' estranged father Hanley Wayne. Soul Custody frankly describes the psychological and emotional abuse that results from parental abduction and finally sheds light on this horrific practice.

When Douglas was six years old, his parents, Capricia and Dr. Hanley Wayne divorced. Shortly thereafter, he was abducted by his mother, Capricia, who raised him to hate his birth father, Hanley. After a few years of dating extensively including several failed love affairs, Capricia finally marries Dr. Arthur Graham who agrees to adopt Douglas.

The story begins with Captain Douglas Graham, a top gun U.S. Navy pilot aboard the USS Liberation carrier, stationed in the Persian Gulf.

During a recon mission, Douglas is downed over the No Flight Zone in Southern Iraq and captured by Allahqueda terrorist group. While in captivity he struggles with his emotions of anxiety, loneliness, anger, and the fear of abandonment, embedded in his subconscious as a result of him being abducted by his mother many years before. His hopes are that his country will not abandon him as well.

In the past, Dr. Hanley Wayne, a psychiatrist, had helped his lifelong friend and colleague Barak Rosen, a successful businessman and world-renowned hostage negotiator, in dealing with international hostage mediation. Barak, now retired and vowing never to return to the business of hostage negotiation, finds himself drawn back into it, in order to help lifelong friend Hanley in trying to free his son Douglas whom he hasn’t seen since was abducted by his mother.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Hanley must personally fly to Jordan to negotiate the release of Douglas. One question haunts his mind. If he succeeds in freeing his son, will Douglas reunite with him?

Every year, more than 200,000 children in the United States are abducted by one of their parents.1 It wasn’t until 1988, however, that parental kidnapping became a Class D felony. Experts estimate that 90% of abductions by a parent are motivated by revenge. Today post-divorce parental abduction is considered a serious form of child abuse.2 Some of the effects of parental child abduction may be: depression, loss of security and trust, excessive fearfulness, loneliness, anger, helplessness, and fear of abandonment. Soul Custody is a novel that examines the emotional penalty such children are taxed with when becoming adults.

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Daniel BenTal -  Soul Custody

Daniel BenTal - Soul Custody


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