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Provided by Salt Lake Police Department
J.J., the Salt Lake City Police Departments first bloodhound, was diagnosed over a year ago with a malignant melanoma in his mouth. He was handled by K9 Officer Mike Serio for almost nine years. J.J. underwent aggressive treatment in New York City, to not only save his life, but also to prolong his career as a Police Service Dog. J.J.s health declined during the past couple of weeks, and his handler recently discovered that his cancer had returned. In the early morning hours of Thursday, March 13, 2008, JJ succumbed to his cancer. J.J. and Officer Serio are responsible for the apprehension of close to 300 wanted people during J.J.s almost nine years of service to the Police Department. Since he was first diagnosed with cancer, J.J. has apprehended close to 50 suspects, with his longest track reaching almost three miles. J.J. is one of three bloodhounds to work with the Salt Lake City Police . Photo - Salt Lake Police Department

"BLOODHOUND IN BLUE: The True Tales of Police Dog JJ and his Two-Legged Partner," by Adam David Russ, Lyons Press, $24.95, 274 pages (nf)

The only two-time winner of the Salt Lake City Officer of the Year Award, Mike Serio served for almost nine years with his bloodhound JJ as members of the Salt Lake City Police Department. Together, the two apprehended 271 wanted individuals and have been featured in several news articles.

“Bloodhound in Blue” describes when Serio first noticed puppy JJ’s tracking abilities. It tells of the difficulties and prejudices the two encountered trying to be accepted as viable members of the police force. It concludes by recounting JJ’s final days when cancer treatments were part of his schedule, along with catching criminals.

The first chapter of “Bloodhound in Blue” is full of action and promise with Serio and JJ apprehending a homicide suspect. However, the next portion of the book lags when author Adam David Russ strays from the storyline by throwing in references and comparisons to movies and actors.

Once Russ gets dropping bits of trivia out of his system, the book picks back up with adrenaline-producing stories involving Serio and JJ apprehending criminals. Caring and tenacious, just like his handler Serio, JJ tracked lost children and traversed miles of Salt Lake City to nab suspects. Several of the cases the team worked were high-profile cases such as the Elizabeth Smart abduction.

While catching criminals would make this book interesting enough, Russ also recounts Serio’s continued tenacity during difficult years when JJ was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Serio refused to accept JJ’s death sentence and his drive eventually got the police dog accepted as a participant in experimental animal cancer treatments in New York City.

“Bloodhound in Blue” is a well-researched book that, once the first chapters are finished, can delight dog-lovers, crime-novel enthusiasts and everyone in between. Because of the criminal nature associated with Serio and JJ’s work, “Bloodhound in Blue” describes violence ranging from disorderly persons to kidnappers and rapists. It also quotes strong profanities.

Russ, the author, lives in northern California with his wife and son. He and Serio have been friends since they were teenagers.

Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She blogs at www.gelatoandchocolate.blogspot.com