As all Twin Peaks fans know, the series is back. The new, limited event, also known as Twin Peaks: The Return, revisits the strange case of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper 25 years after his investigation into the death of Laura Palmer came to its very bleak end.
If you're like us, the revival has you hungry for damn fine coffee and a double-shot of mystery. These chilling reads are sure to satisfy your appetite. From crimes that haunt even the most seasoned detective to voices from beyond the grave, these books are the stuff of stylized nightmares.
After witnessing an execution, true crime writer Colin Douglas realizes the event dredged up difficult memories from his past. As a boy, he nearly drowned on a camping trip with friends at the levee near the Mississippi River. He thought he saw a ghost, and the next day he learned that a woman had been murdered there. Like Agent Cooper’s strange visions of Laura, Colin must return to the scene of his youth to uncover the truth about the crime that haunts him.
If Twin Peaks’ deranged villain Windom Earle fascinates you, then you’ll revel in this true crime story from Joe Sharkey. Mark Putnam was on the rise at the FBI in the small town of Pikeville, Kentucky. But a series of bad decisions led Putnam from a promising career to a path of corruption and, eventually, murder. Putnam’s ambition, underneath the microscope of small town life, turned him into the first ever FBI agent to be convicted of murder.
And One to Die On
Part of Jane Haddam’s detective Gregor Damarkian series, And One to Die On tells the story of Hollywood actress Tasheba Kent, a woman who scandalized everyone when she married her brother-in-law after her sister’s mysterious death. Fast-forward several decades, and Tasheba turns up dead at her own birthday party. If Catherine Martell and Benjamin Horne’s machinations get your blood boiling, you’ll love this murder mystery that only one former FBI agent can solve.
The Turn of the Screw
If, like Agent Cooper, you believe in the transitional space between life and death, and that energy can be transferred from one person to another, then you’ll love Henry James’ classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw. A governess travels to take care of two young siblings, only to find that their last caregivers are still haunting the property, despite being deceased. What do they want, and why won’t they leave the children alone? The terrifying conclusion of this novella is impossible to forget.
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House of Leaves
If David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Black Lodge, with all its doppelgängers, backward speaking, weird riddles, and talking trees speaks your language, then this book is sure to set your head spinning. Like the black lodge, the labyrinthine structure in Mark Z. Danielewski’s epic House of Leaves is seemingly endless—with spontaneously appearing rooms, sounds, and wormholes. The story of the family members who move in and attempt to understand what is happening inside their home will chill you to the bone.
The Lottery and Other Stories
Ask most fans to identify the scariest part of Twin Peaks, and they’ll likely tell you it’s BOB, or at least, BOB's physical manifestation from seasons one and two—when Frank Silva, the actor who played BOB, officially conjured the creepiest persona of all time. In Shirley Jackson’s collection of short stories, which contains “The Lottery,” the short story that put her on the map, a similar character appears in nearly every single tale: a man named James Harris. He appears in different forms, as a young, then old, man. One thing’s for sure—like BOB, wherever Mr. Harris is, nothing good can happen.
The Lovely Bones
Like Laura Palmer, the fourteen-year-old narrator of Sebold's novel is already dead when we meet her. But young Susie Salmon's ghostly presence is desperate to get her family to discover her killer so that he can be brought to justice and her bones can finally be at rest. Though Susie’s decidedly more innocent than Laura, with much less complicated extracurricular activities, her compassion for her family in death makes The Lovely Bones just as emotional and compelling as finding out who killed Laura Palmer.
And you thought Leland Palmer was bad. Let’s just say neither Leland nor Jack Torrance would win any father of the year awards. King’s novel on ghosts, family dynamics, and the dangers of hotel sitting is a horror novel for the ages. Danny’s gift of “the shining,” or the second sight, is not unlike the Log Lady’s seer log, which knows all, or other residents of Twin Peaks who may or may not be gifted with an ability to speak to the dead. But it’s Leland and Jack’s violent breakdowns at the mercy of evil spirits that make both The Shining and Twin Peaks, so, so, disturbing.
The October Country
Twin Peaks is a show about who killed Laura Palmer, yet it’s also a show about the town, its inhabitants, their relationships, Agent Cooper’s obsessive search for truth, and damn fine coffee. If you love this weird and wonderful tapestry, then you’ll love Ray Bradbury’s classic collection of ghost stories, The October Country. The stories in this collection vary from “I’m giggling because this is silly and I’m uncomfortable” scary to the “I’ve broken out into a cold sweat” all-out terrifying.
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Featured still from "Twin Peaks" via ABC