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Bloodhound in Blue: The True Tales of Police Dog JJ and His Two-Legged Partner

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He was born in rural Missouri, and it was immediately clear that he was different from the rest. He caught his first criminal when he was just two years old. By his sixth birthday, he had located burglars, rapists, drug dealers, missing children, and murderers—including Utah’s most wanted criminal. Known to friends as JJ, to law enforcement as Michael Serio’s partner, and He was born in rural Missouri, and it was immediately clear that he was different from the rest. He caught his first criminal when he was just two years old. By his sixth birthday, he had located burglars, rapists, drug dealers, missing children, and murderers—including Utah’s most wanted criminal. Known to friends as JJ, to law enforcement as Michael Serio’s partner, and by captured criminals as “that damned dog,” Jessie Jr. was an exceptionally talented bloodhound, baying like a sea lion that had swallowed a fog horn. Before JJ, few police departments in the West used bloodhounds, and none in Utah. But just when JJ finally convinced naysayers, he and Officer Serio ran into something worse than resistance: the despair of failure amid high hope. JJ had been tracking Brian David Mitchell, the man who abducted Elizabeth Smart, when he was pulled off the track. Elizabeth later told investigators that on the day she was kidnapped she heard a dog baying in the woods behind her. In almost nine years of service, JJ helped apprehend nearly 300 criminal suspects in the Salt Lake City area. Here is his remarkable story, fleas and all.


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He was born in rural Missouri, and it was immediately clear that he was different from the rest. He caught his first criminal when he was just two years old. By his sixth birthday, he had located burglars, rapists, drug dealers, missing children, and murderers—including Utah’s most wanted criminal. Known to friends as JJ, to law enforcement as Michael Serio’s partner, and He was born in rural Missouri, and it was immediately clear that he was different from the rest. He caught his first criminal when he was just two years old. By his sixth birthday, he had located burglars, rapists, drug dealers, missing children, and murderers—including Utah’s most wanted criminal. Known to friends as JJ, to law enforcement as Michael Serio’s partner, and by captured criminals as “that damned dog,” Jessie Jr. was an exceptionally talented bloodhound, baying like a sea lion that had swallowed a fog horn. Before JJ, few police departments in the West used bloodhounds, and none in Utah. But just when JJ finally convinced naysayers, he and Officer Serio ran into something worse than resistance: the despair of failure amid high hope. JJ had been tracking Brian David Mitchell, the man who abducted Elizabeth Smart, when he was pulled off the track. Elizabeth later told investigators that on the day she was kidnapped she heard a dog baying in the woods behind her. In almost nine years of service, JJ helped apprehend nearly 300 criminal suspects in the Salt Lake City area. Here is his remarkable story, fleas and all.

30 review for Bloodhound in Blue: The True Tales of Police Dog JJ and His Two-Legged Partner

  1. 4 out of 5

    Orsolya

    When one thinks of a ‘police dog’ or ‘K-9’, a ferocious German Shepard naturally comes to mind. Although less commonly used, Bloodhounds are actually better used as long-scent trailing dogs. One such talented dog was JJ, the four-legged partner to Salt Lake City Officer Michael Serio. Adam David Russ reveals their story in, “Bloodhound in Blue: The True Tales of Police Dog JJ and his Two-Legged Partner”. Having read several memoirs and books concerning service dogs, I had some expectations set f When one thinks of a ‘police dog’ or ‘K-9’, a ferocious German Shepard naturally comes to mind. Although less commonly used, Bloodhounds are actually better used as long-scent trailing dogs. One such talented dog was JJ, the four-legged partner to Salt Lake City Officer Michael Serio. Adam David Russ reveals their story in, “Bloodhound in Blue: The True Tales of Police Dog JJ and his Two-Legged Partner”. Having read several memoirs and books concerning service dogs, I had some expectations set for “Bloodhound in Blue”. The initial let-down is that the work is not a memoir and is instead a straddle between a portrait format and journalistic coverage. Granted, Russ’s writing style is quite entertaining with a strong pace, quirky humor, and yet thick with heavy research and intelligence; but it also fails to capture the inner-psyche of Serio and his experiences which a memoir would have done more powerfully. Similarly, one doesn’t truly get to know Serio or JJ as the book is precisely what the title states: tales. Although mostly chronological, Russ basically tells individual stories of JJ’s service versus one long, cohesive stream. The stories are indeed interesting and well-written but overall, “Bloodhound in Blue” is somewhat choppy and not what a reader generally expects from a human/animal interest story. Even though the detailed personal elements of Serio and JJ’s relationship are absent; Russ successfully narrates the tales in both a fascinating and informative voice where the reader will learn several facts regarding police dogs. This, along with supplemental photos throughout the text (black and white), makes “Bloodhound in Blue” an enjoyable read (even though it should be noted that the book has a short-story feel which exemplifies Russ’s fictional-writing background). As “Bloodhound in Blue” progresses, the intimate element is STILL missing. Readers learn little about Serio or JJ’s home life, nothing of the emotional ups and downs of training, and basically there is no bond with the characters. Instead, “Bloodhound in Blue” is essentially an oral resume of Serio and JJ’s accomplishments. The chapters become repetitive and tedious as each follows the same format: “Here is a crime that happened. This is how JJ found the scent and followed it. Now, here is the conclusion”. Even with a chapter on the Elizabeth Smart case (which JJ sniffed on); this becomes boring. The buildup of the mandatory animal book ending of the animal star becoming sick and/or passing away is very choppy with Russ struggling to cohesively build the tension. The climax does induce emotion which for me was tears but honestly, not because the writing is strong but because all animals books do so (generally). The conclusion is abrupt with Russ attempting to summarize the book with a notable epilogue but it is simply weak. “Bloodhound in Blue” contains a thorough source listing for each chapter which is satisfying for those seeking more research on the topic. Although JJ was a cute and successful pup and “Bloodhound in Blue” is well-written in terms of narrative flow; the personal essence and emotion of the story is hugely absent and lacks inspiration. Again: even though Russ is a life-long friend of Serio’s, the book would have been stronger written as a memoir instead. “Bloodhound in Blue” is not bad, but also not the best dog book. It is recommended though for Bloodhound or crime-fighting/police dog lovers searching or a quick, but enjoyable read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    I bought this book for for my middle school aged daughter who loves to read stories about dogs. I was disappointed when I read it and discovered a fair amount of R-rated language. The narrative is interesting though account after account of how JJ the bloodhound apprehends criminals (every situation is almost identical) gets a bit monotonous after a while.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx Then again, why not have a passion for both and read a book about a dog. I'd won this on Goodreads, and found it a pleasure to read. This is the life-story of JJ and his life as a police-dog. It paints a positive image of the police department, without failing to mention some of its downfalls. It's written in a very touching way, in that I actually got attached to JJ and was rooting for him and his "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx Then again, why not have a passion for both and read a book about a dog. I'd won this on Goodreads, and found it a pleasure to read. This is the life-story of JJ and his life as a police-dog. It paints a positive image of the police department, without failing to mention some of its downfalls. It's written in a very touching way, in that I actually got attached to JJ and was rooting for him and his trainer, Serio, thru their integration into a somewhat predjudiced police force. And yes... I did shed a couple of tears towards the end. Well writen, well researched, great subject matter. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it managed to keep me in suspense... not an easy task when writing about "real-life" events. Thank you Adama David Russ for writing this and giving me the opportunity to read it. 5 well-earned stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    A nonfiction book, about a dog, on the Salt Lake City police force? I was hooked as soon as I read the Goodreads synopsis. I have lived and/or worked in the Salt Lake City area since 1952; how was it that I had never heard of JJ the bloodhound? Naturally I HAD to read the book! In my opinion, this is an excellent double biography of JJ and Officer Mike Serio, his partner. It also documents Serio's efforts to get acceptance for a bloodhound in the SLC K9 program, where German shepherds were the do A nonfiction book, about a dog, on the Salt Lake City police force? I was hooked as soon as I read the Goodreads synopsis. I have lived and/or worked in the Salt Lake City area since 1952; how was it that I had never heard of JJ the bloodhound? Naturally I HAD to read the book! In my opinion, this is an excellent double biography of JJ and Officer Mike Serio, his partner. It also documents Serio's efforts to get acceptance for a bloodhound in the SLC K9 program, where German shepherds were the dog of choice. In his more than eight years career, JJ was credited with over 250 successes at finding his quarry (whether criminal or missing person). (view spoiler)[JJ was called in on the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping, and if Officer Serio had followed JJ's nose instead of his own human logic, she might have been found on the first day, instead of enduring nine months of hell. (hide spoiler)] JJ's legacy lives on with several bloodhounds now active in the SLC police force.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Phyllis Wright

    I now have a new respect for bloodhounds!

  6. 5 out of 5

    chhaya

    Jó kis könyv. Szépirodalmi csúcsokra ugyan nem tör… De lelkesen követi végig Mike Serio rendőr és társa, Jessie Junior (avagy JJ) útját; azt a hosszú és bizonyítással teli utat, melynek során a család kedvencéből ünnepelt rendőrkutya válik. Igazi sikersztoriról van itt szó, ezáltal kárpótol a kicsit egyszerű stílusért is.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie Haigh

    Quite a good read. I won this book in a goodreads first reads giveaway. I love animal true stories and, on receiving this book really quickly, I couldn't wait to read it. The edition I received was the hardback variety and it has a very inviting cover showing a lovely colour photo of JJ, the beautiful bloodhound who is the book's main concern. There are lots of photos included in the book and I found it helpful that they are throughout the book as the action is occurring rather than a clump of pi Quite a good read. I won this book in a goodreads first reads giveaway. I love animal true stories and, on receiving this book really quickly, I couldn't wait to read it. The edition I received was the hardback variety and it has a very inviting cover showing a lovely colour photo of JJ, the beautiful bloodhound who is the book's main concern. There are lots of photos included in the book and I found it helpful that they are throughout the book as the action is occurring rather than a clump of pictures just in the middle of the book as so often happens or at the end of the book as is the norm for most kindle editions-it's handy to see pictures as each thing occurs in the book than having to flick to a certain area. Having said that, I didn't feel that the photos were displayed to the best of their ability; this is because they were just on normal, thin book pages, not glossy paper, but they were better than newspaper photos. I don't know the cost restrictions/ processes involved in producing a book so this might have had something to do with it but maybe it would have been better to have had better quality photos but compromised on just a paperback edition? So, I was reading another book at the time but had a scan through this one and was raring to go with it but it quickly disappeared and my partner ended up reading it first while I finished my current book. He read it in one day and thought it was well written, couldn't put it down and a really good read. He said he would give it five stars rating. I was expecting great things. I thought it was quite good but I just couldn't connect with it. I found it rather repetitive-it seemed most days Serio would get a call, JJ would go sniff the one to be found out and then bay and then the same would happen again. I would have liked to have known more home detail, aside from Mike and JJ's police work so I could get more of a feel of the character that was JJ, his little quirks etc. I suppose this might be because it wasn't the dog's owner who wrote this book, it was one of his friends. I believe Adam Russ has long been a friend of Serio but, all the time I was reading the book, I felt a distance there, a barrier, I just didn't feel like I could totally lose myself in the pages. It's a pity and, don't get me wrong, there are some good moments in this book. The final chapters were dealt with more sensitively, and I did feel the emotion better here. I do like to read a lot of true crime and books about forensics and how they catch criminals so this did provide a new slant on this-ie. a dog being able to sniff a criminal out so I would probably read more on this subject. What a wonderful dog JJ was, this book is well worth a read to find out about him.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ralph

    Another book about a police dog and his handler, but this book distinguishes itself from the beginning by focusing on the dog; the handler is important, but as the book traces the career of Officer JJ, a Bloodhound in the K-9 Unit of the Salt Lake City Police Department, his partner, Mike Serio, takes on the mantle of protector, advocate and sidekick to the canine manhunter. An early focus of the book is the prejudice JJ encountered as a non-biting dog in a world of aggressive canines. The polic Another book about a police dog and his handler, but this book distinguishes itself from the beginning by focusing on the dog; the handler is important, but as the book traces the career of Officer JJ, a Bloodhound in the K-9 Unit of the Salt Lake City Police Department, his partner, Mike Serio, takes on the mantle of protector, advocate and sidekick to the canine manhunter. An early focus of the book is the prejudice JJ encountered as a non-biting dog in a world of aggressive canines. The police department brass, ever mindful of a limited budget, were reluctant to introduce a dog known for tracking, not attacking, and the other officers of the K-9 Unit, at least the two-legged ones, jealously guarded their own positions and status, putting their own interests above public safety, an all-too-common situation in politically oriented police administrations everywhere. JJ knocked down their arguments and sometimes even overcame their prejudices by succeeding, not just where others had failed but after they had given up. He tracked down and apprehended more miscreants than all the other K-9 dogs, and his success rate (in the high 90th percentile) in finding those couldn't be found (lost kids) and didn't want to be found (crooks and losers) was embarrassing to the department's human officers. JJ is shown in the book to not only be the first and best of the police department's Bloodhounds, but the dog who pioneered the way for all the others who followed. The story is uplifting and inspiring, and as you read along, you will come to value JJ's companionship, so much so, that you will feel true pain and distress when his health begins to fail after years of serving the public. I'm not giving anything away when I tell you the ending is both tearful and inspirational, for it's only in books like "Grayfriar's Bobby" and "Lassie" that the dog outlives the master and weeps by the human's grave. In the gray vale in which we exist, it is the human who too often weeps as he receives a small cedar box and a paw-print preserved in plaster. This book is an excellent read for those interested in policing and public safety, as well as those who value the companionship and service of our four-legged friends and yearn for a reunion at the Rainbow Bridge.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    Terrific book about a real 4 legged hero This was a wonderful book about a courageous hero dog and his loving partner Mike Serio. Knowing the capabilities of Bloodhounds, Mike fought for years to gain the acceptance of Bloodhounds in police work in Utah. JJ the dog not only proved himself, but gained the love and respect of all who came in contact with him, except the crooks of course. The author Adam Russ did an outstanding job of bringing JJ and Mike alive. The writing was at times humorous, ma Terrific book about a real 4 legged hero This was a wonderful book about a courageous hero dog and his loving partner Mike Serio. Knowing the capabilities of Bloodhounds, Mike fought for years to gain the acceptance of Bloodhounds in police work in Utah. JJ the dog not only proved himself, but gained the love and respect of all who came in contact with him, except the crooks of course. The author Adam Russ did an outstanding job of bringing JJ and Mike alive. The writing was at times humorous, making me laugh out loud at JJ's antics and exploits. I also cried so deeply for a great loss that I will not discuss in this review. If you are an animal lover, you will love this book. I was so enchanted with JJ, I even discussed getting a Bloodhound with my husband, but he said 3 house dogs, and 5 horses are enough pets......LOL

  10. 5 out of 5

    Debra Daniels-Zeller

    I got this book as some kind of deal on Amazon and hadn't expected to fall in love with it but I did. This is not only an amazing insight into K9 police officers, but the journey of a bloodhound trying to get accepted in a rather exclusive German Shepherd occupation. I was shocked that it seemed so elitist. Why not have bloodhounds in police departments all over the country if they can scent better than German shepherds? This is also the story of JJ who worked in Salt Lake City and his many case I got this book as some kind of deal on Amazon and hadn't expected to fall in love with it but I did. This is not only an amazing insight into K9 police officers, but the journey of a bloodhound trying to get accepted in a rather exclusive German Shepherd occupation. I was shocked that it seemed so elitist. Why not have bloodhounds in police departments all over the country if they can scent better than German shepherds? This is also the story of JJ who worked in Salt Lake City and his many cases including the Elizabeth Smart case. I laughed and cried. This book was a great welcome surprise.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tamela

    Interesting story, lots of facts but not too heavy. I wish I'd had more time to know JJ and Mike, they seem like a great team. Surprised about the difference in the handling of Bloodhounds vs German Shepherds. I didn't know that Bloodhounds were considered a non-biting police dog. Learned something new and hope you do also.! Recommended Interesting story, lots of facts but not too heavy. I wish I'd had more time to know JJ and Mike, they seem like a great team. Surprised about the difference in the handling of Bloodhounds vs German Shepherds. I didn't know that Bloodhounds were considered a non-biting police dog. Learned something new and hope you do also.! Recommended

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Morefield

    What an amazing story. I loved the story of JJ and Officer Serio who handled him. I was so impressed with this officer who wanted to serve above all else and was given awards for the unselfish service he gave along with his dog. What an inspiring story! I have a whole new respect for bloodhounds. What beautiful and intelligent animals...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kd

    I was amazed at the way the book drew me in. And also by the deep devotion between dog and handler that led them to make a real breakthrough for the good guys at times when all hope seemed lost. The story was a classic tale of greatness emerging when unlikely heroes buck the system, told with a fresh voice, compelling wit, and edge-of-your-seat pacing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Martin

    This was a very inspiring book and not at all what I imagined it would be before I started. The author has a great sense of humour and gives the reader all the elements of a great story - suspense, action, tears and laughter. It was also a great chance to learn about the history of the Bloodhound, which I was not expecting. Very enjoyable read!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    Very interesting. I love dogs and didn't know anything about Bloodhounds. What a great dog and terrific for Police work. Every police department should have several in addition to the Shepherds. I got all teared up when JJ passed. Very interesting. I love dogs and didn't know anything about Bloodhounds. What a great dog and terrific for Police work. Every police department should have several in addition to the Shepherds. I got all teared up when JJ passed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michelle & Tony

    I got this book free from Goodreads in return for an honest review! This book was enjoyable. It was very nicely written with very good photographs that illustrated the story very well. I love dogs and this book brought a lump to my throat in several places.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gina L. Mulligan

    This is a really interesting and fun book about the first bloodhound police dog in Salt Lake City. I didn't know what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised when I laughed and cried. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves dogs and police work - this book has them both. This is a really interesting and fun book about the first bloodhound police dog in Salt Lake City. I didn't know what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised when I laughed and cried. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves dogs and police work - this book has them both.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    I'm a sucker for animal stories, and this one was also interesting to me because it is set in Salt Lake so I knew some of the events and places. I really enjoyed the information about how tracking dogs are trained. It is competently written, and makes a strong case for bloodhounds as police dogs. I'm a sucker for animal stories, and this one was also interesting to me because it is set in Salt Lake so I knew some of the events and places. I really enjoyed the information about how tracking dogs are trained. It is competently written, and makes a strong case for bloodhounds as police dogs.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Xavier Gibbons

    This book was great I got to a few things in a new way personally for me. I love how the book throws you straight in to the action of what JJ and Serio have to go through. I recommend this book to people who want to learn about the works of a police officer and his police dog partner.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    What a delightful book! If you love dogs and police stories, this is the book for you. JJ is the most lovable dog and he always gets his man. I didn't know much about Bloodhounds before, but now I wonder why every police department doesn't have one. What a delightful book! If you love dogs and police stories, this is the book for you. JJ is the most lovable dog and he always gets his man. I didn't know much about Bloodhounds before, but now I wonder why every police department doesn't have one.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I’m a dog lover, so of course I enjoyed this book. It was an extremely fast read. I enjoyed learning about bloodhound and how police dogs play a role in solving crime.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Lots of cute pictures of the bloodhound, but the writing was not great and the story was really padded to make it longer. Really only recommended for serious dog lovers.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    (E) Joe saw this advertised on BookBub, so I bought it for $.99.

  24. 5 out of 5

    KathyP

    Good look at using bloodhounds to track suspects and lost children.a police asset.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Reid

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/86... http://www.deseretnews.com/article/86...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sean McBride

    Really good story about a very impressive police dog. Dog stories always attract me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Annabella

    This book was very well written. It informed me in greater detail of the importance of a police K-9 unit. It was funny, sad, and entertaining.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Kennedy

    Being an animal lover,i enjoyed this book very much...well written!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bob Colombo

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carol Macarthur

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