The Green Mile by Stephen King



The green mile The Green MileStephen King; Pocket 1999WorldCatPaul Edgecomb is the bullgoose screw of Death Row at Cold Stone Prison. It is 1932 at this prison in Alabama. It is an unusually hot early autumn. That is the period that changed his life, as well as those of some of his friends. He decides, 64 years later, to finally record those amazing months.

Death Row, E block, at Cold Stone is tiled with a green linoleum, giving it the nickname The Green Mile. Prisoners who walk that Green Mile finish the walk at “Old Sparky”, the electric chair. Five prisoners are incarcerated from August to October in. The three most memorable prisoners include Edouard Delacroix, “Del”, Wild Bill Wharton, and John Coffey, the weeping giant, “like the drink, but spelled differently.” The assigned men to the area are Paul, Brutus “Brutal”, Harry, Dean, and the governor’s nephew, Percy.

Del was convicted of raping a girl, then setting fire to the house where she lived, killing all of the inhabitants. Wharton was convicted of robbing a store, then shooting the witnesses. Coffey was convicted of abducting young twin girls, raping them, and killing them. He keeps saying, “I tried to take it back, but it was too late.”

There is something unusual about John. Paul finds the giant is not the normal inmate of the Green Mile. Percy, on the other hand, has a mean streak that he takes out on Del and Coffey. Then there is Mr. Jingles, the mouse who makes his home on the Green Mile. Wild Bill is a danger to anyone who gets close to him. Brutal, Harry, and Dean are good men in a nasty job in the middle of the Depression.

Stephen King is the master of horror and macabre. The horror I avoid. The macabre can be fascinating. This is one of his compelling supernatural novels. He originally wrote this in six installments that were sold a certain amount of time apart. He combines brief glimpses of Paul Edgecomb in the mid 1990’s while telling the strange happenings that happened that year in 1932. It is told in first person narrative in the format of memoirs. It jumps around chronologically like any of us would tell a story. Yet it builds up to the conclusion even Edgecomb admits should be impossible. But it happened.

King is one of those authors I don’t read unless the book is recommended by a friend who know my taste of horror. This one is phenomenal. I haven’t seen the movie, but the actor who played Coffey was the picture I held all through this book. I didn’t place any of the other actors in their roles, but he is a perfect match for the written character. I could picture the characters’ movements, their feelings, their confusion. It is well done and keeps you thoroughly enthralled.

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