YMMV / Heart-Shaped Box

  • Complete Monster: Craddock McDermott was an occultist and hypnotist in life who got a thrill out of tormenting prisoners in the Vietnam War, in one instance forcing an officer to cut off his own fingers. Upon his return to the US, Craddock began to sexually abuse his stepdaughters, utilizing hypnosis to make them more willing should they refuse. When one of the girls, Anna, escaped and became the lover of former rockstar Judas "Jude" Coyne, she eventually returned after breaking up with Jude and refused to be Craddock's Sex Slave any longer. Craddock convinced her sister Jessica to help murder Anna and make it look like a suicide while also convincing Jessica to allow Craddock to molest Jessica's own daughter Reese. When dying, Craddock blamed Jude for taking away what belonged to him and had Jessica trick Jude into purchasing Craddock's ghost by way of a cursed suit. Craddock proceeds to kill Jude's assistant Danny and attempts to murder him and his girlfriend Georgia. At the end, he even possesses Jude's abusive father to torment him, revealing a monstrous sadism and sick cruelty beneath the surface of a seemingly polite, kindly old man.
  • Jerkass Woobie: It isn't hard to understand why Jude puts on a Jerkass Fašade, especially once more of his past is revealed.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Craddock appears to have crossed it when he kills Danny, but in reality, he crossed that line much earlier when he repeatedly molested his own stepdaughter and used hypnosis so she wouldn't remember it.
  • Nightmare Fuel: It's to be expected, considering this book is written by the son of Stephen King.
  • The Woobie: Anna "Florida" Price had an absolutely miserable life. Growing up without parents, she was raised by her older sister and their sadistic stepfather, Craddock McDermott who frequently raped her after putting her under hypnosis so she would have no memory of it. As a result of this, she developed deep depression and finally ran away from home. Although she managed to find happiness for a while, living for several months with Judas Coyne, her depression eventually returned to overwhelm her. It grew to the point that Jude had enough and sent her back home to her family, where she finally recovered her memories of being raped under hypnosis as a child, but before she could blow the whistle on Craddock, he and her own sister conspired to murder her and told everyone she committed suicide by slitting her wrists in the bath.