Wherever the book offers answers, it also prompts new questions.
Anticipation of David Lynch’s follow up series to “Twin Peaks” is building, and co-writer Mark Frost has done his part to remind people why they loved the original show and give them plenty to think about ahead of next year with The Secret History of Twin Peaks. To be clear, this is an epistolary novel, framed by an FBI agent simply referred to as T.P. examining a collection of historical documents pertaining to the history of Twin Peaks, as compiled by “the Archivist” in the year 2016. She has made sporadic comments on the accuracy of facts and verification of documents throughout, but much of the information comes through stories of Douglas Milford’s life and through news articles written by the older brother of Dr. Jacoby.
Since much of “Twin Peaks” reveled in myths, it’s only natural that The Secret History begins with undiscovered letters from Lewis and Clark, as well as Thomas Jefferson, about the Native tribes they met when they reached the Pacific Northwest. There is a mysterious ring, references to a Masonic lodge and white men the tribes met before Lewis and Clark. Naturally, this leads into mention of owls. But cryptic documents and symbols very quickly give way to government conspiracies – and through the unlikely story of Douglas Milford. Frost interweaves Milford’s life, and tangentially Twin Peaks’ history, with real life events like UFO sightings in Roswell and investigations into Richard Nixon. All of that is fun for those who were fans of the “X Files” elements of the show, but it doesn’t shed that much light on Twin Peaks itself.
That’s where personal journals and old fashioned reporting come in. A large chunk of the book reveals aspects of the town and its citizens’ lives through Twin Peaks Gazette articles by Robert Jacoby. We also see excerpts from a history of the town’s foundation written by Jacoby. And Dr. Jacoby makes an appearance, as well, with a maligned text called The Eye of God: Sacred Psychology in the Aboriginal Mind and unwittingly hilarious notes about his treatment of Nadine Hurley following the loss of her eye. Yes, there is a pencil drawing of her with the words “poor girl…” written underneath and sketches that show Jacoby’s plans to test his red/blue glasses on an ideal subject.
While there are some discrepancies between facts in the book and what we know from the series, Frost offers several answers to questions that remained after season two. Most notably, we find out the fate of Audrey Horne and the others involved in the bank explosion. But wherever the book offers answers, it also prompts new questions. As Frost has structured The Secret History, it’s not the most intuitive read, but it offers plenty of background information about a town that has bewitched fans. And its kernels of new information about beloved characters – such as Deputy Tommy Hawk’s account of Big Ed and Norma Jenning’s relationship – flesh out the smaller details of what we already know. In regards to the upcoming series, The Secret History does one very important thing: introduce us to T.P., who is likely to be a central character carrying on in Dale Cooper’s footsteps.