Between 2007 and 2011, I edited and published The Back Alley Webzine, a site dedicated to preserving and promoting hardboiled private eye and crime genre fiction.

We had a great almost-five-year run.

Well, four of the five years were great. 2011 didn't really exist.

After the deaths of my mother and father-in-law, within five weeks of each other in 2010, I sort of lost motivation to do a lot of things, and The Back Alley was one of them. 2011 was an amazing year for me personally, with four major award nominations and one win, but all the hoopla distracted me from the editing and publishing duties that might have kept The Back Alley alive. So, early in 2012, I made the decision to discontinue publishing The Back Alley.

I was very proud of what we were able to accomplish in just four short years:

Five Derringer Award nominations, including--


Paper Walls/Glass Houses, written under my pseudonym Eric Shane- 2008  (Winner)

In The Shadows of Wrigley Field, by John Weagly-2008 (Winner)

The Big Score, by Chris F. Holm- 2009

The Right To Remain Silent, by Debbi Mack-2010

Silicon Kings, by Richard Helms-2011


A 2009 Spinetingler Award nomination for Claude Lalumiere (She Watches Him Swim)

A 2011 Anthony Award nomination for Simon Wood (The Frame Maker)

And, among my proudest achievements, The Back Alley Webzine became the very first all-electronic publication to be accepted by Mystery Writers of America as an Approved Publisher (Periodical/Webzine).

Along the way, we published stories by winners of the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, Shamus, and Derringer Awards. Authors who graced our electronic pages included O'Neil De Noux, Ross Macdonald protege Fred Zackel, Wayne D. Dundee, Simon Wood, Stephen D. Rogers, Angela Zeman, Patricia Abbott, Jack Bludis, Tim Wohlforth, Keith Gilman, Jochem Vandersteen, Nick Andreychuk, Anita Page, Keith Gilman, John Lau, and G. Miki Hayden, among others.

While I was proud to showcase acclaimed authors, one of the greatest pleasures came from uncovering new and emerging talents. In each issue, I tried to feature at least one story by an author who either had never had a paid publishing credit, or was at the very beginning of what I hoped would be a jet-propelled ride into the writing stratosphere.

After The Back Alley Webzine was discontinued, I sold the domain name, and I hope some enterprising editor/entrepreneur who loves this genre as much as I do will someday revive the magazine for a new generation of writers and readers.


In the interim, I'm publishing the archives of all the issues I published, in .pdf format. Feel free to browse, read, and enjoy!

Thanks to all the readers for a great run. Onward and upward!

Richard Helms
Editor, The Back Alley Webzine




ARCHIVE: Volume I, Number 1


ARCHIVE: Volume I, Number 2


ARCHIVE: Volume I, Number 3


ARCHIVE: Volume II, Number 1


ARCHIVE: Volume II, Number2


ARCHIVE: Volume III, Number 1


ARCHIVE: Volume III, Number 2


ARCHIVE: Volume III, Number 3