Jess Cagle
September 06, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Green Mile, Part 6: Coffey On the Mile

Current Status
In Season
Stephen King
Fiction, Horror

We gave it an A

A very good thing has come to a very good end. The Green Mile, Part 6: Coffey on the Mile is the final installment of Stephen King’s compelling serialized novel about the horrific and mystical deeds that went down at the Cold Mountain Penitentiary’s death-row facility back in the 1930s. And with it, King gives sweet closure to the fates of John Coffey, the gentle-giant inmate with the power to heal; Percy Wetmore, the bullying, cowardly guard (who, you’ll be happy to know, gets just what he deserves); and Paul Edgecombe, the now-feeble guard who has served valiantly as the serial’s narrator.

I approached part 6 with some trepidation, worried that it would come to one of King’s baroque, God-and-devil-duke-it-out endings that have mucked up some otherwise perfectly nice books like Needful Things. Have no fear, constant reader: Part 6 ends not with a bang, but with a most gratifying, intense, yet wistful farewell. I would share it with you if I didn’t think angry Stephen King fans would strap me in the electric chair, so let’s just say that you can expect to be more teary-eyed than terrified when you’re done, that Edgecombe is even more wonderful and tragic a character than you thought, and that Mr. Jingles — you know, the eerily smart little mouse that disappeared after being stomped on by Wetmore and healed by Coffey? — ends up…well, let’s stop there.

”I don’t think I’d want to do another serial novel (if only because the critics get to kick your ass six times instead of just the once),” King writes in his afterword, ”but I wouldn’t have missed the experience for the world.” Readers who have missed the experience can now get all six parts without waiting. (Shame on Signet for having raised the price for part 6 by $1.) You won’t want to miss it for the world. A

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