A Progressive Age Adventure of a Spooky Bridge That Reminds Us Nothing Is As It Seems

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.

Los Angeles Times bestseller

SCIBA(Southern California Independent Bookseller Association) bestseller 

Vroman’s No. 1 bestseller  

Bronze Medal, Regional Fiction, Independent Publisher Book Awards 

A 2019 most anticipated/best book (novel, mystery & thriller genre)—CrimeReads

“Jacobs’ thoroughly researched debut novel excavates the buried history of Pasadena by focusing on the complex history of this bridge. (The protagonist) has visions of the bridge’s future, in a manner that brings to mind Ali Smith’s How to Be Both (2014) . . . a riveting and enjoyable look at how local myths are constructed, and a vivid depiction of a time and a place that felt full of possibilities”— Booklist

“This first novel by award-winning journalist and nonfiction writer Jacobs (Smogtown) is a love letter to Pasadena, CA, and small-town America, celebrated here with conviction and warmth. The tone, exuberance, and sense of humor may remind readers of Tom Robbins’s Even Cowgirls Get the Blues . . .  As we might expect, Jacobs handles the historical material superbly, skillfully relating the complicated and tragic story of the” Colorado Street Bridge’s “construction while convincingly depicting a variety of famous historical figures . . . A promising and ambitious effort . . . recommended for fans of debut novels, historical fiction, and books about small-town America”—Library Journal

“Absorbing, entertaining, erudite and engaging from first page to last, Arroyo will prove to be an enduringly popular (work) . . .” Midwest Book Review 

9 Riveting New Books Set in Los Angeles. Arroyo is “creative, weird and totally gripping” – PureWow

7 New Novels Based on Little-Known Moments in History. Arroyo is a “beautiful ode to the fascinating city of Pasadena and to Southern California as a whole”—BookBub

Arroyo, from L.A.’s high-lit Rare Bird Books, (is) a wild ostrich race of a read, a careening, time-traveling ride that hurtles back and forth between Pasadena’s early days as a winter resort and millionaires’ redoubt and twinned characters in the 1990s, all centered around the building and then restoration of the magnificent Colorado Street Bridge over the beloved semi-wild canyon that is the Arroyo Seco . . . Arroyo” is nothing like scant of plot. There is so much going on, so many eccentric characters past and present-day, you’ll have to read it twice just to connect all the dots . But that’s a fine idea. This is a great big book . . . Like Pasadena itself, there’s a little bit of everything in the world in Arroyo.”—Larry Wilson, columnist, Pasadena Star News

“The pinnacle of historical fiction (with a plot that) hooks the reader from the beginning and doesn’t let go. Historical facts don’t detract from plot and character – they complement them.”—Salt Lake Dirt literary zine 

Arroyo savors “the city of Pasadena in all its ambition, vanity, humanity, vigor, variety, and beauty. Like a city in a glass globe the novel offers views from multiple angles . . . in Chip Jacobs’ deft hands (the bridge) spans not only the arroyo, but also life span(s) and its connection to the other side. (A) completely original and genre-defying work—both historical novel and metaphysical noir . . . The author has caught the brass ring and given it to us as pure gold in the tastes, sounds, sights and smells of 1913 Pasadena . . . the ending that pulls together all the elements of this ambitious novel is a satisfying tour de force—Tristine Rainer, author Apprenticed to Venus, My Years With Anaïs Nin

“Forget Thomas Pynchon’s loquacious dogs in Against The Day—Chip Jacobs is back with a downright clairvoyant canine in his latest superb book about Los Angeles County and its too-weird-to-be-true-and-yet history. Coalescing around Pasadena’s so-called “Suicide Bridge,” the double-timelined plot is never less than lively, with richly imagined as well as historical characters, and settings (dig that ostrich farm!) . . .  All this, plus as acute a literary rendering of obsession that I’ve read about in many moons.”—Gary Lippman, playwright and author of Set the Controls for the Heart of Sharon Tate

“Who’d have thought the ghosts clustered under an old bridge could slip so artfully into a cast of real and imagined characters? Plus, there’s a horny, sandwich-stealing dog nudging people toward cosmic truth. What more could a reader want? Arroyo is unrelentingly bizarre, perversely funny, and absurdly true—mostly. Pure jazz!”—Ron Franscell, bestselling author of The Darkest Night

“Chip Jacobs combines the historical deep-dives of Erik Larson and Caleb Carr with the sweep and grandeur of E.L. Doctorow’s best work, albeit with a sense of new-age (for lack of a better term) whimsy one doesn’t typically associate with those authors, or this genre. Jacobs’ maiden venture into the realm of fiction—a departure from his award-winning, investigative non-fiction—is an almost impossible blend of the historical with the supernatural . . . and the result is sublime. This reader is very much looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next!”—David Kukoff, bestselling author of Los Angeles in the 1970s: Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine

An “amazing history . . . Jacobs is one of the best wordsmiths I know, and his Arroyo and . . . unique presentation of the real facts using real and imagined characters, along with a nice bouquet of romance and you have a story that is guaranteed to bring you a lot of laughs, a few tears and a very real knowledge of Old Pasadena and the important role it played in the formation of early LA. A delightful read, highly recommended”—Steve Hodel, bestselling author of Black Dahlia Avenger

“I hear T.C. Boyle. I hear Tom Wolfe . . . This “trans-dimensional tale revolves around the…Colorado Street Bridge (the so-called Suicide Bridge), an iconic Southern California structure, an architectural gem with a sordid and glorious history— and some unfinished business . . . Edgy and satirical, yet rooted in fact, Arroyo is a fact-paced technicolor timepiece that bridges life and death and the present”—Mike Consol, author of Hardwood


* Novel Spotlight with Mike Consol – Spotfiy 

* Interview with Gina Bengston and “Mama D” – The Fox Den

* Interview with Jeff Rutherford – Reading And Writing Podcast 

* Interview with G.P. Gottlieb – New Books Network 

* “Drinks with Tony” Interview –Apple Podcast

* Interview with James Lowe on “The Jiggy Jaguar Show” – iHeart Radio  

* Interview with Ryan Wrecker on “Overnight America” – KMOX-AM St. Louis 

* Dark Tale Inspired by “Suicide Bridge” – South Pasadena Review

* “‘Arroyo’ is a Sprawling Novel of Pasadena Then and Now” – Pasadena Star News

* Author Q&A: “Chip Jacobs & Arroyo” – Salt Lake Dirt literary zine

* Essay: “The Queen And Me” – A Writer of History blog 

* In conversation with Gary Lippman, author of Set the Controls for the Heart of Sharon TateSoundcloud Podcast

* In conversation with Colleen Dunn-Bates, publisher of Prospect Park Books, which was founded in Pasadena – Soundcloud Podcast 

* Author interview: “Matthew and Friends” with Larry Matthews – Impact Radio USA

* Author Interview: Book Q & A with Deborah Kalb 

* Local Author Chip Jacobs Launches Arroyo, a Historical Novel about Pasadena and the Colorado Street Bridge, at Vroman’s – Pasadena Weekly

* Interview on “AM Ocala Live” – WOCA-AM

* In conversation with Doug Cooper, author of Focus LostSoundcloud Podcast 

* In conversation with Carla Rachel Sameth, author of One Day On The Gold Line — Soundcoud Podcast

* Author Q&A — Pen & Muse blog

* “Pasadena Seeks to Curb Suicides at the Colorado Street Bridge with Messages of Hope” – Los Angeles Times



— Launch party ( catered by Pie ‘n Burger & moderated by former Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard): Vroman’s Bookstore Pasadena, October 18, 2019 @ 7 p.m.

— Reading and discussion with local historian Paul Ayers: Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse – La Cañada Flintridge,  November 7, 2019 @ 6 p.m.

— Reading and discussion at the historic Garfield house: South Pasadena Preservation Foundation, November 15 @ 7 p.m.

— Reading and discussion: Pasadena Museum of History, Pasadena, November 21, 2019 @ 6:30 p.m.

— Reading and discussion: Pasadena Central Library, January 16, 2020

— Reading and discussion: Allendale Branch, Pasadena Public Library, February 8, 2020

— Reading and discussion: Sierra Madre Woman’s Club, Zoom, January 20, 201

— Reading and discussion: Gamble House, Zoom, April 17, 2021 @ 11 a.m.