These books are fun!
I am a huge Twin Peaks fan. I have been, ever since I watched the pilot episode twice in 24 hours on a VHS tape in 1990. I like the weird plot turns, the eccentric characters, the deadpan humour, the bursts of unexpected violence. But I’d be the first to admit that it doesn’t all hold together, and that there are piles of unanswered questions. Even after the 18 hours of the most recent TV series.
These books go some way to addressing that problem. Secret History begins with the 1804 Lewis and Clarke expedition and strange events in the Pacific North West. On it skips through US history, taking in Roswell, UFOs, Men in Black, L Ron Hubbard, Richard Nixon and others, all the while linking this to Twin Peaks and the lives of its fictional inhabitants. It does so in the form of an official FBI dossier, with journal excerpts, government files, newspaper clippings, photographs, letters and psychiatric reports. (If nothing else, the book is just a pleasure to look at.)
Final Dossier isn’t as much visual fun, but it’s just as entertaining. It consists of a series of written FBI reports on Twin Peaks individuals and fills in a lot of gaps about what happened to them: Leo Johnson, Audrey Horne, Annie Blackburn, the Hayward sisters et al. It should satisfy the people who’ve been clamouring for this ever since Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me came out in 1992 and frustrated thousands with its refusal to wrap things up.
Well, sort of. Because even after three seasons of the TV show, one film and these two books (not to mention The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, The Tapes of Agent Cooper, The Missing Pieces and even The Welcome to Twin Peaks Guide Book – and yes, I own all four), there are a still a mass of loose ends trailing in the breeze.
I’ve given up worrying about this. I treat it the whole experience like a trip with an absent-minded tour guide: you might never reach your destination, but you’ll have an awful lot of fun not getting there.