Set against two distinct epochs in the history of Pasadena, California, Arroyo tells the parallel stories of a young inventor and his clairvoyant dog in 1913 and 1993. In both lives, they are drawn to the landmark Colorado Street Bridge, or "Suicide Bridge," as the locals call it, which suffered a lethal collapse during construction but still opened to fanfare in the early twentieth century automobile age. When the refurbished structure commemorates its 80th birthday, one of the planet's best known small towns is virtually unrecognizable from its romanticized, and somewhat invented, past.
Wrought with warmth and wit, Jacobs' debut novel digs into Pasadena's most mysterious structure and the city itself. In their exploits around what was then America's highest, longest roadway, Nick Chance and his impish mutt interact with some of the big personalities from the Progressive Age, including Teddy Roosevelt, Upton Sinclair, Charles Fletcher Lummis, and Lilly and Adolphus Busch, whose gardens were once tabbed the "eighth wonder of the world." They cavort and often sow chaos at Cawston Ostrich Farm, the Mount Lowe Railway, the Hotel Green and even the Doo Dah Parade. But it's the secrets and turmoil around the concrete arches over the Arroyo Seco, and what it means for Nick's destiny, that propels this story of fable versus fact.
While unearthing the truth about the Colorado Street Bridge, in all its eye-catching grandeur and unavoidable darkness, the characters of Arroyo paint a vivid picture of how the home of the Rose Bowl got its dramatic start.
Chip Jacobs is a bestselling author and journalist. His most recent book is "The Darkest Glare: A True Story of Murder, Blackmail and Real Estate Greed in 1979 Los Angeles," a Kafka-esque, true-crime tale that Kirkus Review praised as ""engrossingly bizarre" and "entertaining." His other works include the Los Angeles Times-bestselling "Arroyo," historical fiction set around construction of Pasadena, California's mysterious Colorado Street Bridge; "Strange As It Seems: the Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler," an Indies Book of the Year Finalist (biography); the environmental social histories "The People's Republic of Chemicals" and the international bestselling "Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles," and; the articles collection "The Vicodin Thieves." He has contributed pieces to anthologies, most recently for "Go Further: More Literary Appreciation of Power Pop," as well as the bestselling "Los Angeles in the 1970s: Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine." He is currently partnering with WarnerMedia to develop "Smogtown" into an entertainment project, and is also at work on a follow-up novel and non-fiction project.
Jacobs’ writing has been honored, among others, by the Independent Publishers’ Book Awards (IPPY), the Indies Book of the Year contest, Foreword and Booklist magazines (for starred reviews and top books in genre), The Green Prize for Sustainable Literature, the Southern California Book Festival, the Los Angeles Press Club, the Shanghai Book Awards, and as a Chinese “Most Influential” and “Outstanding Popular Science” book. His subjects and reporting have appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, CNN, LA Weekly CrimeReads, The Wall Street Journal, Marketplace Radio, Slate, Wired, NPR-syndicate stations, C-Span, Politifact, the Pasadena Weekly, and elsewhere. He lives in Southern California.