With 2017’s explosive and brain-melting The Return, Twin Peaks fans were left (once again) with more questions than answers. As if called down by the Gods, in swooped Mark Frost, the co-creator (co-conspirator) of the Twin Peaks series, to shammy clean as much of the soot-blackened corners of our minds after David Lynch practically set fire to every vaguely sentimental or sane moment in the final seconds of “Part 18.”
With the sound every fan’s screams (and some from Laura Palmer’s Carrie Page) echoing still in my mind, the joy of receiving this book on Christmas morning was immediately followed by an anchor falling from somewhere in my throat all the way down to smack violently in the pit of my stomach. Could Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier give me the answers I, and everyone on the face of the planet, were so desperate to know?
Turns out yes… and also no.
The book itself is designed and presented as if it’s an actual dossier of case files and reports by FBI Agent and newly inducted Blue Rose Task Force member Tamara Preston (holler back to my Twin Peaks Geek Guide where I also designed some FBI files!). This is her compiled additional research and reports following her recovery of the original dossier written by everyone’s favourite and perpetually missing character Major Garland Briggs. It’s addressed to FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole, which makes for an incredibly unique and exciting read. The thrill of digesting candid recollections and personal notes addressed to Cole makes you feel like you really are reading a top-secret case file and are let in on information that you were seriously never supposed to be privy to. This just enhances the whole clandestine aura of the Twin Peaks universe. The Final Dossier doesn’t feel out of place here; it slides right into canon. The 145 pages can be consumed in a single night or over the course of a weekend in this writing style. It’s not so much a novel but a full experience.
The files within the book mainly focus on individuals, from Shelly Johnson to Dr. Jacoby, but there are also some titled “The Double R,” “Miss Twin Peaks,” and the final report in the dossier, “Today.” Frost does his best to tie off the storylines connecting seasons one and two with The Return and beyond. For someone who hasn’t seen the show in its entirety at least once, this will be a difficult read. With over thirty characters referenced and even more somewhat important contextually, this book is clearly for fans. However, with a bit of careful googling and some of your own research, I imagine The Final Dossier could be reasonably enjoyable for a newbie, kind of like the fact-checking and cross-referencing Gordon Cole would have had to do once this giant file had been slammed down onto his in-tray.
All in all, this book is equal parts a complete joy and a pain in the neck. If nothing else, the design and layout of the book’s pages are exceptional. It speaks directly to my graphic designer soul: The pages are soft and the photos smell good. (Not that I smelled the photos… ummm…)
There are many more discoveries and semi-answers to be found in Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, and I could not recommend it more to those who are looking for that kind of partial satisfaction. The Twin Peaks universe that Frost and Lynch have created together continues to be a source of excitement with every turn of the page and every episode aired. Not very many long-running television series can offer you the same kind of joy as a fan.
Read it at your own peril or enjoyment. As someone who is completely obsessed with everything and anything to do with the Twin Peaks world, I can say that this was easily my favourite read of 2017.