A horror/thriller by Matt Carter

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For nearly sixty years, Bennytown has been America’s most exciting family theme park destination. Under the watchful eye of cultural icon Benny the Bunny, the park has entertained generations of children with its friendly atmosphere and technologically innovative rides, acting as a beacon of joy and wonder, where magic is real and dreams come true.

Bennytown once saved sixteen-year-old Noel Hallstrom’s life, and to repay it, Noel has applied for a summer job. Though the work is messy and the hours are bad, Noel is happy to be a part of the Bennytown family, until he sees the darkness beneath the surface. Strange, mechanized mascots walk the park perimeter. Elegantly dressed cultists in wooden Benny masks lurk in the darkness. Spirits of the many who’ve died in the park roam freely, and every night the park transforms into a dark dimension where madness reigns and monsters prowl.

Noel is about to find out more about Bennytown than he ever wanted to know, and that its darkness might have designs on him.


“I believe in Bennytown,” Adam sniffled.

You weren’t supposed to cry at Bennytown, since it was a magical place where dreams come true. Bennytown was a themed wonderland of rides, shows, and fantastical worlds that let you escape from real life.

His parents and commercials repeated that to him on a regular basis, so it had to be the truth.

It didn’t feel really magical right now, though.

Adam sat on the curb in Happy Hollow, whimpering and wiping away tears. Bits of vanilla ice cream and chocolate smeared his chin. He wanted to kick Shawn for ruining everything. Mommy and Daddy always took Shawn’s side and barely listened to their other son. Even when Adam was right.

He wasn’t supposed to cry, but he did anyway.

“I believe in Bennytown,” he repeated.

Repeating the phrase helped ease the pain a little. The words had a power he found comforting, like saying he believed in Santa or the Easter Bunny. Unlike any of those mythical figures, these words had extra power because Bennytown was real.

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An Interview with Matt Carter

-What inspired you to become a writer?

Ever since I was very little, I loved to read, and I loved to tell stories. For large stretches of my childhood, that made me a fairly shameless liar and got me into a lot of trouble, but when I wasn’t telling the kind of stories that could get me in trouble, I loved to make up stories and adventures for my stories. As years passed, that transitioned into the world of fan fiction, and finally deciding once I’d graduated from college that this was what I wanted to do with my life.

In short, there was no one thing that made me decide that I wanted to be a writer, it was just as much a part of me as anything else.

-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?

Honestly, I would probably run in terror. While Bennytown might be America’s favorite theme park with a bunch of themed lands, colorful characters and some of the best rides in the business, it is also a portal to a dimension of dark magic, death and madness that hungers for human souls and torments those it believes it can break to its will. While it might be a place of wonder and joy for most people who walk within its hallowed grounds, for some it simply hungers, seeking to strip them of their humanity and force them to join its army of the undead.

That being said, I wouldn’t mind a ride on the Candy Mountain Mine Carts.

-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

At two in the morning… Noel might be revealing to me how scared he is. He’s been seeing and hearing things at Bennytown that seem impossible, that seem to be all in his head, but are really difficult to believe sometimes that they can only exist there. However, this isn’t what scares him the most, no, what scares him the most is the possibility of losing his job at Bennytown. Although he is a model member of the Bennytown Family, he is frightened that any little mistake he might make could cause him to lose this job he takes great pride in, and would make his family and girlfriend respect him less.

I’d tell him that he doesn’t need this job as much as he thinks he does, that he’s one hell of a young man and a hard worker, and that will get him far in life, but I get the impression he’s not listening to me very well.

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

Ooh, this is a tough one, but I think I’m going to have to say that I’d be most likely to go out for drinks with would be Fletcher Dorian. The founder and mastermind behind Bennytown, he is responsible for many of the park’s dark designs, but he is also one of those people you’d call a contender for “the most interesting man in the world”, and it would be a difficult opportunity to pass up. The man was a visionary, an animator and engineer, an Olympic athlete, hero of World War II, a spy, a globetrotting playboy, possibly a sorcerer and necromancer… what isn’t there to be fascinated by?

-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?

Since it’s highly probable I don’t know this dwarf and abhor violence in real life, I would assume that this was all a misunderstanding and do everything I can to peaceably talk my way out of it. I would offer to buy him a drink and listen to tales of his adventures. As a storyteller myself, I would be happy to pass on tales of his exploits and help spread his legend.

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

I like to think I can write most genres, but if I had to pick one I’d be least eager to give a try, it would likely be Romance. I can write stories that have romantic plots in them just fine, but I don’t think I could write an entire book dedicated to just that. Combined with a lack of exposure to the genre itself, and I probably would not be the best person suited to it.

About Matt Carter

Matt Carter has used his lifelong love for writing, history and the bizarre to bring to life novels like Almost Infamous: A Supervillain Novel, Pinnacle City: A Superhero Noir, and the Prospero Chronicles young adult horror series (all co-authored with Fiona J.R. Titchenell). Bennytown,is his first solo horror novel.

He is represented by Fran Black of Literary Counsel and lives in the usually sunny town of San Gabriel, CA with his wife, their pet king snake Mica, and the myriad of strange fictional characters and worlds that live in his head.

Find him online:
OwlHollow Press


Matt Carter will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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