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Someone Else’s Conflict

My debut novel, Someone Else’s Conflict, was published by Honno in 2014 and was a LoveReading Debut of the Month, and was longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award 2015-2016

Jay has chosen an itinerant life of busking and odd-jobbing, using rootlessness and stories to hide the guilt of his mistakes from the 1990s war in Croatia, beneath an outward layer of cheerfulness. When he arrives in the Yorkshire Dales and meets Marilyn, an artist, he feels he has finally found a place he could settle and a woman he could love. Jay wants to be honest with Marilyn but as the flashbacks that haunt him begin to reappear, he finds it hard.


Marilyn is fresh out of a controlling relationship, eager to reassert her independence and establish her pottery business. When the barn she plans to convert to a workshop suffers storm damage and Jay offers to help, she is intrigued by her enigmatic new friend and wonders if the practical support he gives her in rebuilding her life could turn to something more. How much of the stories he tells contain truth? Can she trust him?


When young economic migrant Vinko enters their lives, the past catches up with the present and stories become reality. Murder and kidnap force them both to decide how much they can believe and what it is they really want.


The story contrasts the idyllic Yorkshire Dales setting with the gritty reality of Northern cities, underlaid with a backdrop of the troubled times in 1990s Croatia.


Here are some online reviews of Someone Else's Conflict:













A surprisingly sensitive and compassionate thriller where the lurking suspense surges forward and delivers blasts of turbulence and ferocity. This is subtle, clever writing…. Much more than just a thriller, at its heart it is a story about friendship, responsibility, remorse and how the past can incarcerate and command everyday lives.’www.Lovereading.co.uk

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A surprisingly sensitive and compassionate thriller where the lurking suspense surges forward and delivers blasts of turbulence and ferocity. This is subtle, clever writing…. Much more than just a thriller, at its heart it is a story about friendship, responsibility, remorse and how the past can incarcerate and command everyday lives.”

Read the full review at Lovereading, where Someone Else’s Conflict was a Book of the Month for January 2015 in the Debut, Literary, Crime/Mystery and Thriller/Suspense categories

“A highly original contemporary thriller, featuring unusual, engaging characters, and a plot that’s not shy in tackling thorny  issues at the personal and social level, nor to observe, from the outside but with a sharp eye indeed, one of Europe’s XXth century disasters: the Balkan wars following the dissolution of Communist Yugoslavia. […]Alive with the strengths and weaknesses that are the stuff of daily lives, and that make it easy for us to feel that their troubled story can be part of our own too.”

Read the full review at Thriller Books Journal

“One of the elements that makes ‘Someone Else’s Conflict’ so successful is the effortless way in which what ought to be disparate genres are woven into an exciting and believable story. Alison Layland uses the senses so effectively that I felt as if I were watching a film rather than reading a book. I know a book is good when I find myself thinking about the plot and characters when I’m not actually reading it as I did here. […] I think readers who like accurate, well researched and brilliantly written love stories and thrillers will adore ‘Someone Else’s Conflict’ as much as I did. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Read the full review and an interview on Linda’s Book Bag

“This was a book that constantly surprised me. […]It's a tribute to Alison Layland's writing that it works really well - this is a first novel, but it really doesn't show. Far more than its parts, it exposes the waste and futility of fighting for a cause, the tragic effects of a civil war that can't be won. An excellent read - a real page turner that confounds your initial expectations, and I really look forward to seeing what the author tries next.”

Read the full review and an interview on Being Anne

A gripping and powerful début, “Someone Else’s Conflict” does not fit into one genre. With scenes of war, suspense, romance, murder, mystery and historical flashbacks, the book has something for everyone.

The compelling storyline, complete with wonderful vivid characters makes this a sensational read. The book is beautifully written and fluid. It had me intrigued and enthralled all of the way through. There are plenty of jaw-dropping moments and emotional scenes. The baseline subject surrounding the traumas of war and the after-effects on those that witnessed it, is handled with care and sensitivity. I loved the fast pace of the book, and all of the twists and turns.

Read the full review on Whispering Stories  

“There is a crime at the heart of this book, but not in a grandstanding, police-procedural sense. What struck me most was the questioning of trust, and how gut instincts can prevail when reason or even evidence suggest the opposite. […] Layland seamlessly integrates the disparate worlds of the middle class Marilyn, the drifter Jay and the rootless Vinko, as well as weaving in a strong sense of the battle for Yugoslavia. A translator by profession, it’s perhaps no surprise that she also blends a seasoning of the Croatian language in throughout the narrative, rooting us in the culture and history. Someone Else’s Conflict is thoughtful, above all, and takes us into questions of responsibility, of escaping from shadows and of putting things right. A thoroughly enjoyable read!”

Read the full review at Sarah Jasmon’s blog

“This book grabbed me from the start and sucked me in, I knew very little about what happened to all the innocent people who were caught up in the war between the Croatians and Serbians. Like so many wars is pulled in people with their ideals, their beliefs, but things change, power takes over, anger and madness become the leaders and soldiers make decisions they later regret.

The reader is cleverly drip fed the storyline as it mixes with the lives of those who live today in the Dales, it worked really well. There are so many layers to Jay that get peeled away right up until the very end. Loved it.”

Read the full review at Rosie Amber