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The Secret History of Twin Peaks


The Secret History of Twin Peaks

Fans’ prayers have been answered with Mark Frost’s new book, THE SECRET HISTORY OF TWIN PEAKS. The short-lived television series “Twin Peaks” is an undisputed cult classic. The initial success it saw in its run was due to the plot centered on the murder of the town homecoming queen, Laura Palmer. The intention of the show was to never reveal Laura Palmer’s killer, but a steady ratings decline and pressure from the studio prompted creators Mark Frost and David Lynch to uncover the murderer’s identity in the middle of season two. This did nothing to save the ratings slippage and, in fact, solidified its steady to steep descent, effectively defeating any chance of a third season being ordered. Thus, “Twin Peaks” was canceled after two seasons, leaving fans with what will be remembered as one of the most dramatic cliffhangers in television history.

"[A]s supplementary material to the entire lore of the show and film, it is a wonderful addition and one that fans will hungrily delve into time and time again."

After its cancellation, there was little hope that any of the numerous plots and subplots left open at the end of the show were ever going to be resolved. The hopelessness seen from the fandom was made only more palpable when the prequel film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, produced a year after the cancellation only left more questions than answers. It was from this point on that there was nothing “Twin Peaks”-related in the works for some time. Over 20 years passed before news would drop about Frost and Lynch being in talks to produce a new follow-up series with Showtime, and Frost alone writing a book to tie the previous series into the new one. This is where yours truly comes into the picture! I have read THE SECRET HISTORY OF TWIN PEAKS and absolutely adored it.

The book is just what its title entails: a secret history of a small town in the backwoods of Washington. The story begins with the explorations of Lewis and Clark, recorded in diaries and letters primarily addressed to President Jefferson. These letters and recordings from the journey reveal a far more secretive mission under the public veil of charting the scope of the Louisiana Purchase. Lewis’ contributions to these studies outside of his public heroism will begin a widening web of government conspiracy, mysterious deaths and special agents hunting dreams for the next two centuries.

The book itself is presented as a dossier of the many studies and projects that led up to the phenomena and happenings in the series of “Twin Peaks.” With some newspaper clippings and local recordings of the people in and around the town, we are given a look into the quaint and quiet lives of the people haunted by powers beyond their understanding. With the focus in the dossier centering on looking to the stars, the attention lingers a little long on the secret memos and Area 51 jargon. Despite the very natural progression of the secret company men and underhanded government dealings, these parts tend to slow down the midsection narrative tremendously. This, of course, is redeemed through a few of the cliffhangers from the end of the original series being closed out only to have more questions stacked up next to them.

As an independent book, THE SECRET HISTORY OF TWIN PEAKS leaves too many questions and what would be called unnecessary shifts in attention. With the occasional focus on the townspeople potentially not adding up to those uninitiated with the series, the novel could fall short on a few fronts. It could even appear to some that the author has a short attention span. However, as supplementary material to the entire lore of the show and film, it is a wonderful addition and one that fans will hungrily delve into time and time again.

Reviewed by Matthew Burbridge on November 3, 2016

The Secret History of Twin Peaks
by Mark Frost