Arroyo by Chip Jacobs

"Historical Fiction" genre card with glasses and book photo
Arroyo book cover with large bridge
"Mystery" Genre card with dark woods and light in the distance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is centered around Pasadena, California, and the “Suicide Bridge” formally titled “Colorado Street Bridge”. The story digs into the history of the bridge and the area around it.

This is told through a dual timeline in the early 1900s, then later in the 1990s. I enjoyed the two different time periods in this story. I always enjoy when we see into the history, and then we get to experience someone later in time trying to understand what happened!

I thought this was an interesting story, and I really enjoyed it. My favorite thing about this book was the descriptions of the area. The writing created beautiful pictures for me, and I loved that!

Where to Find This Book:

Amazon ~ Goodreads


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.

Just the Facts:

Arroyo by Chip Jacobs
Page Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Pub Date: October 15, 2019

Chip Jacobs is an acclaimed author and journalist. His fiction debut, Arroyo, about two parallel lives gravitating around Pasadena, California’s mysterious Colorado Street Bridge, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, CrimeReads most anticipated book, and medalist at the Independent Publisher Book Awards. His other books include Strange As It Seems: the Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler, an Indie Book of the Year finalist, the bestselling Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution and its sequel about China, The People’s Republic of Chemicals, the latter two with William J. Kelly. His reporting, writing and subjects have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Marketplace, Slate, C-Span, LA Weekly, CNN, and the Pasadena Weekly, among others. Jacobs, a graduate of the University of Southern California, is the recipient of numerous writing awards. He is at work on his follow up novel, and several non-fiction projects.

Author Links:
Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website


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I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.

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