Picks and Pans Review: Under Covers

updated 04/01/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/01/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST

>KING'S SERIAL CHILLER

SOMEONE HAS HACKED STEPHEN KING'S new novel into six grisly pieces and sent it to bookstores one bloody chunk at a time! Actually, the culprit is King himself, and the dismembered creation is a Depression-era prison thriller, The Green Mile (Signet). Bored, perhaps, with knocking out plain old blockbusters, the Sultan of Spook took a leaf from Charles Dickens and decided to serialize his latest gothic work into six monthly installments, with each paperback "chapbook" priced at $2.99. The first 96-page episode, subtitled The Two Dead Girls, landing in bookstores this week, involves a death-row guard, a mysterious inmate and a supernatural mouse.

There's one terrifying scene that should hook horror lovers, but having to wait a month for the next scare could diffuse the trademark tension that made Carrie, The Shining and Cujo, among others, such satisfying King creepers.

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