A word about protecting your protagonist from the dislike, even hatred of readers.
There are many books where this is exactly the point and they were written with this in mind, often to great success.
Think about Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis: Bateman is a wealthy and successful investment banker who moonlights as a sadistic serial killer. Or perhaps you prefer Amy Dunne in “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn: Amy is a cunning and manipulative woman who stages her own disappearance to frame her husband for her murder.
Excellent choices, these and both books were runaway best-sellers
Those of us who were read to cut our teeth on childrens’ books, all of which seemed designed to send us into the darkness in fear of what may lie under the bed and asking Dad to please close the window and take a quick peek.
I was raised differently, but that was a long time ago, when my grandma delighted in reading the long story. A Swiss Family Robinson comes immediately to mind and her readings fashioned my mind toward less confrontational stories. But my Father’s Mother died early in my life and my fondest memories are attached to those long reads, my toes curled in anticipation.
Yet there are those—and they are legion—whom will read anything that terrifies them, so don’t give up when your protagonist veers toward the creepy.
There’s gold in them thar hills…