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Walking After Midnight: A Journey Through Murder, Justice and Forgiveness

by Katy Hutchison

It was an unthinkable tragedy that made national headlines. Partway through the evening of December 31, 1997, Bob McIntosh left his wife Katy, his two children, and their friends to check on a teen house party spinning out of control on their quiet cul-de-sac in Squamish, B.C. Hours later, Bob McIntosh was dead, the victim of a brutal attack that included several kicks to the head delivered as he lay unconscious.

Katy’s decisions following the death of her husband also made headlines. Rather than seeking vengeance or retribution through the legal system, Hutchison (her name following her remarriage) reached out to her late husband’s youthful attackers, finding rapprochement and emotional common ground with Ryan Aldridge, who delivered the fatal kicks. Since 2003, Hutchison has been bringing her message of restorative justice and healing to schools, detention centres, and conferences, often with the participation of Aldridge.

Walking After Midnight, Hutchison’s harrowing memoir, provides a valuable overview of an alternative to traditional criminal justice, one that keeps both victim and perpetrator in focus and has the potential to provide emotional and psychological healing.

In the discussion of restorative justice that Walking After Midnight will (hopefully) engender, what stands to be lost or overlooked is just how strong a book it is. Hutchison writes with surprising candour. She doesn’t, for example, glamorize her marriage to Bob, but presents it realistically, warts and all. Despite the emotional weight of her subject matter, she never resorts to histrionics or melodrama.

The early chapters of the book are as emotionally devastating an account of sudden death and grieving as one is likely to find. If the later chapters seem somewhat more piecemeal, it is only in comparison to the sheer force of the book’s first half. Walking After Midnight isn’t an easy read, but it is essential.