Published : Thursday, October 3, 2019 | 11:39 AM
Set against two distinct epochs in the history of Pasadena, Arroyo tells the parallel stories of a young man and his 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 infamous structure and the city itself. In their journey to discover the source of the bridge’s macabre alter ego, 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. While digging up 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 an award-winning author and journalist. His books include the biography Strange As It Seems: The Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler; the environmental social histories The People’s Republic of Chemicals and the international bestselling Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles; the dark-humor true crime caper The Ascension of Jerry; and the stories collection The Vicodin Thieves. He also has contributed pieces to anthologies, most recently for Los Angeles in the 1970s: “Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine” about the attack on an idealist lawyer by a depraved cult. His reporting has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Daily News, CNN, The New York Times, Bloomberg, and LA Weekly, among others.
Paul Ayers is a retired attorney with a passion for Southern California history. He majored in history at University of California, Berkeley, and eventually went to law school. He has always pursued his interest in Southern California history and is an expert on Los Angeles’s Red Car railway system. He has also researched silent movie locations and 19th century roads and trails.
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