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Literature / Twin Peaks

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The cult classic television series Twin Peaks has spawned several successful books due to its popularity. During the show's second season, Pocket Books released three official tie-in books, each authored by the show's creators (or their family) which offer a wealth of backstory. Other books would follow over the years, including two that were also released before and after The Return. Three of these books — The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch, and The Secret History of Twin Peaks and Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier by Mark Frost — have been declared canon by Word of God.


  • The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer
  • The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes
  • Twin Peaks: An Access Guide to the Town
  • ''Diane..." - The Twin Peaks Tapes of Agent Cooper (Audio book)
  • The Twin Peaks Gazette
  • The Secret History of Twin Peaks
  • Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier

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The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer
The short, horrible life of Laura Palmer.
By Jennifer Lynch

Written by Jennifer Lynch (David Lynch's daughter). Lynch paints a haunting portrait of an abused teen's double life, falling into a world of prostitution and cocaine abuse, while maintaining the status quo as homecoming queen and high school student. Published during the summer between the original broadcasts of the first and second seasons, the book provided fans with much-sought-after information regarding Laura's veiled personal life, including her knowledge of and/or relationship with the enigmatic character of "Killer Bob."

    Tropes for the novel 

  • Ascended Extra: While certainly not extras, Leo Johnson and Jacques Renault being two of the most important people in Laura's life is surprising.
  • Big Bad: BOB tortures Laura her entire life.
  • Continuity Snarl: Donna and Maddy know each other in this book and have a slumber party with Laura despite the fact the former "meet" in the actual show.
  • Demoted to Extra: Despite being Laura's best friend in the show, she's barely mentioned in the diary.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Laura causally mentions she intimidated Harold Smith into sex one day out of sheer boredom, knowing he couldn't go outside.
  • Downer Endin G: Laura Palmer is going to be murdered right after the diary is finished. It will also help Agent Cooper in his fight against BOB so it may be an Esoteric Happy Ending.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Laura's worst actions and lack of care about getting people killed are all done while under the influence of cocaine.
  • Good All Along: Doctor Jacoby turns out to have never actually slept with Laura Palmer or acted inappropriately. He just was completely unhelpful.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The realization BOB is her father Leland. It's left out of the book but there's plenty of clues to pick on the subtext.
  • Fille Fatale: Horribly-horribly Deconstructed as her sexual abuse and precociousness has her acting as a Femme Fatale from pubescence onward.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Subverted. Laura is a decent person who thinks she's evil but doesn't really think too much about the consequences of her actions while high on cocaine.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Laura attempts to save her horse (bought for her by Ben Horne) from BOB by setting it free. Reality Ensues when it starves, loses its shoes, and has to be put down when found.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: BOB has been abusing Laura since her early childhood on. Laura tries to disbelieve in him at one point but it doesn't work.
  • Rape as Drama: Laura suffers a lot of it growing up at the hands of BOB as well as statutory rape at the hands of Leo, Jacques, and numerous clients.
  • Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: Laura struggles with this attitude. Eventually, she decides it's why she's evil and beyond saving.
  • Spoiled by the Merchandise: While it doesn't say for certain that Leland Palmer killed Laura, it makes it pretty clear if you're paying the slightest bit of attention that he's sexually molesting her.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Laura Palmer is sexually active with much older men from the time she's twelve to her death at age seventeen. She's even able to "seduce" (her words) twenty-two year olds into pleasing her when she's twelve.

The Secret History of Twin Peaks
And you thought the show was weird.
By Mark Frost

A dossier-style novel written by series co-creator Mark Frost, "places the unexplained phenomena that unfolded in Twin Peaks in a layered, wide-ranging history, beginning with the journals of Lewis and Clark and ending with the shocking events that closed the finale." Structured as a secret dossier of documents, letters, clippings and notes assembled by a mysterious individual referred to as "The Archivist" and annotated by an FBI agent Tammy Preston, known throughout the book as TP, this enigmatic collection includes undiscovered Lewis and Clark diary entries, UFO sightings, and personal journals of Twin Peaks residents, some of which answer unresolved plotlines from the show's second season. Released October 18, 2016 on Audio & Book format.

    The Secret History of Twin Peaks 
  • Adaptational Badass: Douglas Milford is a member of The Men in Black in this book when he was just a publisher (as far as anyone knew) in the show.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Lana Milford is speculated by the Archivist to be an assassin sent to kill Dougie Milford for He Knows Too Much.
  • All Myths Are True: A Downplayed version as the White and Black Lodge's inhabitants take many forms.
  • All There in the Manual: This is a comprehensive guide to the mythology and backstory of the Twin Peaks universe by one of its two creators (Mark Frost).
  • Belated Backstory: Douglas Milford was originally just the owner of the Twin Peaks newspaper but actually turns out to be the former head of The Men in Black along with a Sir Swears-a-Lot advisor to Richard Nixon.
  • Canon Immigrant: Agent Tammy Preston and Sheriff Frank Truman originated here and eventually show up in The Return.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Doctor Jacoby admits he was a complete failure as a psychologist in failing to notice Laura Palmer's extremely obvious signs of sexual abuse. It costs him his license to practice in Washington State (along with his New Age beliefs).
  • Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: The Freemasons, the Illuminati, U.F.Os, Native American spiritual beliefs, Project: Blue Books, FBI Ancient Tradition groups, Richard Nixon, Lewis and Clark, and Ron Hubbard.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • Some dates and details about characters are inconsistent and — in some cases — even outright impossible when put under scrutiny. Mark Frost has stated that they are all wholly intentional, and has offered an in-universe explanation for them; namely that some were deliberately planted by Douglas Milford to test Major Briggs's worthiness as a successor to the title of the Archivist. And of course, others again can be explained by Cooper altering history in The Return, and thereby breaking the timeline(s) something fierce.
    • Annie Blackburn seems to have been exercised from the book's continuity with Norma's maiden name not being Blackburn and a different winner of the Miss Twin Peaks contest. This is contradicted with The Return. This, however, gets explained in The Final Dossier, Annie is Norma's half-sister through an affair her father had, and got her last name from her stepfather, Roland Blackburn.
    • Pete is said to play checkers, not chess. Pete is a grandmaster chess player in the show. Then again, this particular discrepancy can be explain by the fact it is an in-universe assessment made by Deputy Hawk.
    • Norma's mother died with her father when she was a child, which is impossible as her mother showed up in the show during one of Norma's major plots. Also explained in The Final Dossier, her "mother" was in fact her step-mother (well, sort of — it's rather complicated), and her father hadn't died at the same time as her mother; the reference to him being "lost" was in fact referring to him having abandoned his family.
    • Audrey is protesting the Ghostwood Project to get back at her father when she was doing it for her father in the show.
  • Retcon: Quite a few, not counting the Continuity Snarl ones.
  • Secret War: The Archivist and Douglas Milford believes that one has been going on between the Freemasons and the Illuminati over the political control of the United States every since the founding of the country.

The Final Dossier

By Mark Frost

Structured as a series of reports written by Tammy Preston to Gordon Cole, the book is meant as an epilogue to the events of The Return as well as a follow-up on some of the show's lingering plot threads that was for some reason or another not included in The Return. Released October 31, 2017.

    The Final Dossier 

  • Abusive Parents: Vivian Blackburn is given a Adaptational Villainy upgrade that moves her from just being a cruel and dismissive woman to an outright monster to both her daughter as well as her husband's daughter. Annie Blackburn's step-father turns out to be even worse as he sexually assaulted her as a teenager.
  • All for Nothing: The Ghostwood Project ended up creating a 'for profit' prison that made the town an even worse place than it was before despite Ben Horne's attempts to stop it.
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of the confusing parts of The Return are explained away in this book.
    • Sarah Palmer was the girl in Part 7 who had a bug enter her mouth in Los Alamos.
    • Judy is actually The Devil. No, seriously.
  • Black Widow: While heavily implied before, Lana Milford is confirmed to be one of these and an extraordinarily successful one at that.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Doctor Jacoby predicted the Iraq War and Patriot Act following the 9/11 attacks. This is what inspired him to return to Twin Peaks and pick up his job as a Leftist version of Alex Jones.
  • Cosmic Retcon: invoked Agent Cooper caused Laura Palmer to "disappear" rather than be horribly murdered. It's implied everything else that happened still did, however, making this a Downplayed Trope. The only overt butterfly effects of this change that Preston mentions that she is able to identify during her investigation is that Leland, instead of dying in police custody, ends up committing suicide one year to the day of Laura's disappearance. Per Word of God, another result of the altered timeline is that Maddy Ferguson is "almost certainly still alive."
  • Cosmic Plaything: James manages to escape a false charge of perjury, only to end up being a Mexican drug lord's mechanic. He ends up getting exiled from Mexico, only to end up getting shot in another altercation. This is all before returning to Twin Peaks only to get involved with another man's wife and the fight against Bob. No matter where James goes, he's always the Butt-Monkey of other people's crimes.
  • Discontinuity Nod: Preston comments on James' Oregon subplot from Season 2, which both fans and critics felt was easily the weakest part of said season, stating that the whole thing reads like something lifted straight out of a James M. Cain novel and assures Cole that she won't bore him with the details.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Sarah Palmer was host to her own BOB-like entity her entire life.
  • Downer Ending: A lot of the Twin Peaks residents are revealed to have suffered this in addition to the already nasty fates revealed in The Return.
    • Annie Blackburn is revealed to have been catatonic for the remainder of her life after returning from the Black Lodge, rendering Agent Cooper's Heroic Sacrifice pointless. She only says two words every year, "I'm fine."
    • Audrey is revealed to have never reconciled with her family and ended up in a loveless marriage with her CPA. She's also a terrible wife to him, verbally abusing him as well as cheating on him. This is in addition to having a monster of a son.
    • Major Briggs was murdered by Cooper's Doppelganger not long after the events of the show. He, thankfully, Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence.
    • The Hayward family disintegrated after the events of Twin Peaks with a divorce and most members of the family refusing to speak to one another for decades.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Big Ed and Norma finally getting married is considered to be this.
    • Donna, after living a life of extreme luxury as a model and trophy wife (plus dealing with substance abuse issues), ends up becoming a nurse practicioner who reconciles with her father.
  • Evil Is Petty: Vivian turned out to have created a fake restaurant critic identity solely to write a bad review for Norma's diner.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Judy a.k.a Jud-eh is actually Beezlebub the Lord of the Flies a.k.a The Devil.
  • Karma Houdini: Trope mentioned by Agent Preston as she mentions a number of people got away with their crimes and lived long full lives.
    • Norma's stepmother, Vivian, is revealed to have gotten away with being an abusive parent as well as horrible cur to her stepdaughter with no comeuppance. Worse, she retired in absolute luxury before dying of old age.
    • Lana Milford is revealed to have married numerous other rich men and retired in Italy with billions.
  • Kick the Dog: Vivian turns out to have never actually been a food critic but took out the negative review of Norma's diner purely to screw with her. Even Tammy is confused at the action and calls it the actions of a fairy tale wicked stepmother.
  • Killed Off for Real: Leo Johnson's fate was Left Hanging but he's confirmed to have been killed after being left with a box of tarantulas over his head. There's a little Take That, Us since it's mentioned tarantulas aren't lethal, so Leo was shot to death by an unknown third party (but speculated to be Windom Earle).
  • No Longer with Us: Turns out Briggs claiming that Norma's father was "lost", was not referring to him having died but rather that he had abandoned his family.
  • Parental Incest: Annie Blackburn turns out to have been a victim of this, making her more of a Foil for Laura Palmer.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Preston notices that people in the area of Twin Peaks apparently can only remember the new timeline that was created by Cooper at the end of The Return, namely that Laura Palmer merely disappeared rather being murdered, something which local newspaper archives also state, even though everyone with knowledge of the case at the FBI still remember that she was originally murdered, which is also supported by FBI's own archives on the case. More disturbingly, when Preston visits Twin Peaks for a couple of days to do research, she notices that her own memory of the her memory and previous knowledge of the Palmer case begins to fade and is slowly replaced with the new version of the events, so she decides to get out of town as quickly as possible.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Vivian was never a pleasant person but she turns out to have been a monster to Norma. Played with as Vivian is arguably not even Norma's stepmother save in the loosest of senses.


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