Victim of Convenience


Calgary, Canada’s booming oil capital, is caught in the grip of terror as a serial killer with the chilling nickname TLC stalks its streets and pathways. His rampage has put intense pressure on Homicide Detective Chris Crane, the lead investigator in the case. TLC can seemingly strike at will, blatantly displaying the obscenely mutilated bodies of his victims in city parks. As the body count steadily mounts, TLC zeroes in on Chris, acknowledging him as a worthy opponent in the deadly game.

But are the taunts really from TLC? Or are they the work of a sick impersonator? And is there a copycat taking advantage of the situation? Chris must grapple with these and other frustrating questions as he seeks to unmask a killer who, despite his flamboyance and risky taunting of the police, manages to stage his grisly showpieces without leaving any clues behind.


The best parts of the novel are those that reveal the financial and legal machinations that, ultimately, put gasoline in our cars. It's complex, but Ballem makes it easy to understand - and exciting.


A Victim of Convenience is ample evidence of Ballem's mastery of the craft of mystery writing.

The Hamilton Spectator (October, 2006)

A Victim of Convenience is an imaginative whodunit.

Alberta Views (November, 2006)

His work feels nicely Canadian.

The London Free Press (October, 2006)

About the Author

John Ballem

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

John Ballem

Author, attorney, and oilman, John Ballem has lived and practised energy law in Calgary since the mid-fifties. A Victim of Convenience is his twelfth novel. He has also published numerous short stories, a volume of poetry, and a legal textbook. He travels extensively throughout the world.