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BOOK REVIEW: "Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier" by Mark Frost

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BOOK REVIEW: Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier by Mark Frost (Flatiron Books) 2017

Released on Halloween, Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, the much-anticipated follow-up to last year’s information-loaded book The Secret History of Twin Peaks, is a bit lighter when it comes to new revelations, but for those who watched Season 3 – aka Twin Peaks: The Return – this summer, there are some important nuggets that help in further understanding the mystery.

And, as the title indicates, the book, running nearly 150 pages, has the same “archivist” and “found documents” style found in Secret History, with new character FBI Special Agent Tamara “Tammy” Preston (played by actress Chrysta Bell in the show) offering up her “completed” investigation into the bizarre events of the early spring of 1989 in and around Twin Peaks, Washington – the disappearance of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, for one –

I think Preston speaks for many Peaks fans when she writes her Final Dossier memo to Cole at the beginning of the book:

On a personal level, I will share with you, however, that regardless of the cost to my innocence or naivete regarding these truths of the human condition … I emerge from this experience grateful for the wisdom it has given me, and stronger of mind for the hard lessons learned.”

I can truly say I agree with that wholeheartedly. While many things in the series were confounding, bizarre and deeply puzzling, Preston is our voice, essentially. She is a novice … or should I say initiate?

These “files,” as presented in the book, run the gamut, covering different past and present Twin Peaks characters, beginning with Leo Johnson’s April 1989 autopsy report (he was murdered by the maniacal Windom Earle), where we get Special Agent Albert Rosenfield’s observations and comments, with subsequent files covering Shelly Johnson, Donna Hayward and her troubled, post-Twin Peaks life; an uninteresting “file” on the Double R Diner; a short bit on Annie Blackburn; and a somewhat illuminating, but not to the degree I had hoped; the “Miss Twin Peaks” pageant gets some ink – and a big yawn from me. The files on Dr. Lawrence Jacoby (later a guru to the Grateful Dead and libertarian podcaster “Dr. Amp”) and Major Garland Briggs are a bit juicier and addresses Cooper's evil doppelganger. And why is the Log Lady “Margaret Coulson”? Isn’t she “Margaret Lanterman” and played by the late Catherine Coulson? Am I missing something?

And we are led to believe things are not as we thought they happened, regarding Laura Palmer (she never died?), family members and Audrey Horne. And Phillip Jeffries, the agent (played in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me by David Bowie) did disappear - and reappear in the Philly office in 1989 - in Buenos Aires, Argentina, chasing a shadowy character who seemed to be involved in some criminal enterprise. Was it Mr. C? How does that work with the timelines? Or are their multiple, parallel timelines and dimensions, which could explain some of the scenes in the final episode.

I should point out here that I am a big fan of Mark Frost's work and his incredible insight and knowledge of esoteric subjects. I just don't get the impression that David Lynch had any role at all in putting this information together. Are Lynch and Frost collaborating at all at this stage? It's not entirely clear. This could explain some of the diversions or differing timelines and outcomes. It comes off like a rushed job, nothing like the grand treasure trove that is The Secret History of Twin Peaks.

Regardless, Frost's Agent Preston does want to understand these mysteries. Why they happen and where this is taking all of us.

As Preston tells Cole: “Is the evil in us real? Is it an intrinsic part of us, a force outside us, or nothing more than a reflection of the void? How do we hold both fear and wonder in the mind at once? Does staring into this darkness offer up an answer, or resolution? What does it give us to hold on to? Does it reveal anything at all?”

Like Agent Preston, we all have questions. And the open-ended nature of The Final Dossier leads me to believe that there will be more Twin Peaks in the years to come. Let's just hope we don't have to wait another quarter-century this time.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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