The Green Mile was originally a serial novel. I had no clue. It was published in six parts, each containing approximately ten chapters. The story is told by the aging Paul Edgecombe, who is writing his memoirs at a retirement home. Edgecombe was in charge of the section of Cold Mountain Penitentiary that housed the inmates on death row. This area was colloquially referred to as the Green Mile because of the color of the floor (it was green, Brent). In his writing, he focuses on the story of John Coffey, a man who came to the Green Mile in 1932, convicted of raping and murdering to little girls.
It didn't take long for Edgecombe and those that worked for him to realize that Coffey was unlike any other inmate they had encountered. He had certain powers that couldn't be explained and hardly believed. What was even harder for them was justifying Coffey's special abilities and calm demeanor with the heinous acts for which he was convicted.
It is obvious that he is working through some deep, dark issues. Sitting in the atrium at the retirement home, Edgecombe lays bare his past, "What I didn't realize was how many doors the act of writing unlocks, as if my Dad's old fountain pen wasn't really a pen at all, but some strange variety of skeleton key." Along with people from his past, Edgecombe is also dealing with the present. Brad Dolan, a particularly conniving and nasty orderly at the home, seems to have it in for Edgecombe.
The story jumps back and forth from the retirement home to the Green Mile, with excellent pacing. King takes time to develop interesting characters in both eras. These characters wrestle with the complex issues of death, love, justice, and religion. King strikes again.