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My Five Favorite Comics - from Crimespree Magazine

Being loosely categorized as a crime novelist, I am inevitably asked on many occasions to cite my literary inspirations or list my five or ten favorite novelists or novels. I cannot deny that there are writers and novels that I adore, but I don’t feel confident tagging them as influences. I think of the Spellman series (The Last Word: Document #6 in stores July 9th) as comedic novels first and when I’m writing them I am a slave to the joke, because unlike plot, character, or pacing, a joke is utterly intangible.

When I was child I was always drawn to comedy and comedians, and I continue to obsess over whatever impossible formula it is that ends with a laugh. So here’s a list of my primary literary influences—comedians. I was watching most of them long before I ever wrote my first joke—which I think involved putting someone’s cremated ashes in a pepper shaker. . . .

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