Written by the show's co-creator Mark Frost, this novel purports to tell the origin story of the town and its mysteries, then answer a couple questions left dangling from Season 2, and set up the new season about to debut this year.
Instead, it spins an exhausting tale of UFO conspiracies and men in black and Richard Nixon, dotted with short bursts of the worst sort of fan service. This is an eye-rollingly bad book.
All spoilers from here on, but trust me, if you're a fan these are the sort of spoilers you SHOULD know. They'll keep from from indulging this rubbish.
The book is a dossier found by the FBI and being reviewed by an agent with the initials TP. Get it, cuz Twin Peaks? (So clever.) The dossier is a collection of documents — public, private, and secret — peppered with commentary by a mysterious "archivist," whose identity Agent TP can't discern but is obvious to us from the beginning. He's a man, a local, intimate with police business, erudite with words, has military clearance ... it's Major Briggs. But rather than identify himself from the start, the archivist leaves "accidental" clues early on that Agent TP mulls over, only to name himself outright near the end.
It's almost like the archivist was writing a bad mystery novel.
That could be forgiven, if the Major Briggs writing this dossier was the same character from the show. BUT HE IS NOT. He is some alternate universe version of Major Briggs. One who makes no mention of the curious historical pilot garb he's wearing when he reappears at his home after an abduction. A Major Briggs who forgot to mention being present for the big religious/philosophy discussion after Leland's death, a discussion covering much pertinent ground given the events brought up in the dossier. A Major Briggs who doesn't mention Windom Earle — you know, the lunatic who kidnapped him and nearly killed him during an attempt to enter the Black Lodge.
These aren't nitpicky details. These are facts pertinent to the documents and commentary presented here. Major Briggs would be remiss to leave out firsthand knowledge of this level. But Mark Frost left these points out. Maybe they were unsuitable to the story HE was telling.
The fucking White and Black Lodges aren't mentioned once, and they are what Major Briggs, Agent Cooper, and Windom Earle are looking for in Season 2! They are the answer to the stupid "mystery" this book takes 350 pages to not bother to solve. That's the story we want to read about.
Instead, we're treated to about 250 pages of inane "evidence" about Lewis and Clark in the Owl Cave, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson, Indian religions, the history of UFO sightings in America, the Illuminati and Masons, intelligence agencies and high level cover-ups, Roswell, JPL and Jack Parsons' fuck habits, Alister Crowley, JFK's assassination, Nixon's downfall, deliberate misrepresentation of the truth through wild media accounts and pulp fiction ...
It's an absolutely psychotic level of dense, detailed notes, conversation transcriptions, and Wikipedia entries about topics that have no relevance to the Twin Peaks we know and love ...
... and holy shit, this BETTER not have anything to do with the Twin Peaks we will get in Season 3.
The whole goddamn time I was reading this book, I kept thinking about the exposition scenes in INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. The worst bits of a bad movie: all that gabbing on about "interdimensional" Area 51 bullshit. The crap no one liked, and no one wanted in their Indiana Jones story.
The other 100 pages remind me of the worst aspects of the STAR WARS prequels, where there's a universe of a billion stars but only 15 characters ... and they're all related to each other and can be described simply by their occupation. Of course the Bookhouse Boys all played on the same high school football team. Of course Sheriff Truman's father and older brother were the sheriffs before him. Dr. Heyward's dad was also a doctor. Jean Renault's father was also a crime boss. Ben and Jerry Horne's ancestors were also tycoons. Norma's mother also ran the diner (in the book, that is; the show-writers actually came up with a character for her). The Packard and Martell families ran mills, until they united with the marriage of Catherine and Pete. And on. And on. Has no one ever moved out of Twin Peaks in the last 100 years? Did no one other than Major Briggs ever move in?
(Good thing everyone had boys. Doc Heyward has three girls, so if those kids have kids, they will probably have different last names, and that totally fucks up fan service. Relatives MUST all have the same last name, just like everyone does in your whole family tree ... right?!)
And even with this obscene adherence to straight male-line decendancy and apprenticeship in careering, Mark Frost still manages to screw up not only the canon established by the show and movie, but his own "continuity" from this very book.
For example, the book completely ignores the show's version of Big Ed, Norma, and Nadine's history, and posits some new love triangle brought about from Ed being in 'Nam and the manipulation of the mail by Hank Jennings. In this universe, 20-year-old Hank is already working for Jean Renault a decade or more before they meet for the first time on the show. Carl (the trailer park keeper in the film) and the Log Lady get abducted by an owl, or aliens, or whatever, back when they're on a field trip as small kids ... but the actors we see playing the adult versions of these characters were 17 years apart in age, and CLEARLY LOOK LIKE IT.
Again, these aren't nitpicks. These are faults.
Nitpicks would be when explorers from the early 1900's refer to a large cavern as a "big-ass cave," or when a diner menu from 1989 prices a simple cheeseburger at nearly $8, or when a car sales receipt from 1947 has a ZIP code (which weren't introduced until 1963).
Nitpicks are how there's hundreds of pages of documents purportedly hammered out on typewriters, but there isn't a single typo or word that's XXXXX'd out or any Liquid Paper corrections. (Talk about science fiction!)
Nitpicks are how Briggs types out that Agent Cooper (the possessed one from after Season 2) is at the front door and his wife is answering it; meaning, Briggs was at the typewriter, typing that out just as the event was happening in the next room, during a paragraph that ominously leads right up to that very moment; almost as if Major Briggs was writing a bad mystery novel ...
The shit I'm talking about are poor storytelling choices that fundamentally effect the narrative the being told, or contradict the drama we (the audience) have already experienced.
And I'm leaving out the fan service bullshit like little candid "snapshot" photos that are plainly old publicity stills from the show, and untowards or unnecessary references to the show's famous "quirks" when they aren't even remotely called for in the surrounding context.
To wit: there's a document written by Dale Cooper on the life of Josie Packard, a complete criminal history up to her death. Halfway through, for no reason, this document diverts into a tale of the Double R Diner, complete with a menu offered as evidence. Did Cooper steal that menu? Did he ask for one as a souvenir, then decide to put it in this research document on an interpol criminal?!
Cooper likes coffee and pie. We know. We were there. But for fuck's sake, he didn't bring it up every time he expressed himself!
Then there's the goof of Dr. Jacoby's brother, unseen in the show but allegedly the longtime publisher of the local paper. (In a startling twist, this Jacoby does NOT have a doctorate in psychology like the one we know. He's actually an original character in the book, with his own beliefs and personality.) Clips from the local paper fill Major Briggs' dossier as primary evidence, so this is all fine, world-building stuff. An excellent pillar to build your story on.
Except Robert Jacoby manages to write a book (excerpted in the dossier) about the town of Twin Peaks over ten years after he's dead.
That's not a soap opera storyline, that's a massive continuity error in the book.
When the character dies again, for real this time, it's only to open up the newspaper job so it can be filled by the character we saw doing said job in the show: Mayor Milford's brother (and lifelong rival), Doug. Y'know, the goofy old guy who marries the young gold digger and promptly dies while fucking her on his wedding night.
Except Doug Milford isn't just the local press magnate. Oh no. In Mark Frost's universe, the Doug Milford character also witnessed Roswell. He had an alien encounter of his own. He worked intelligence on UFOs and was the world's leading expert on the topic. He was secretly running the project that Major Briggs was a part of (remember the satellite transmissions that said "Cooper" over and over?).
This one-joke character (in the TV show) saw an alien with his own eyes whilst seated next to Jackie Gleason (in this book). This central character of Doug Milford was a personal friend of President Nixon.
Did I mention that Nixon wears the fucking jade ring from FIRE WALK WITH ME?!
Yeah. That's all in this book. All that, and more. Ugh ... my recommendation? Don't buy it. Don't check it out from the library. Don't even steal it off Pirate Bay. Just ignore it — it's utter garbage.