The Shooter at Midnight

The Shooter at MidnightMurder, Corruption, and a Farming Town Divided

From the publisher

The harrowing true story of a cold-blooded murder and the campaign to bring justice to a suffering Midwestern town

On a November night in 1990, Cathy Robertson is murdered in her home outside Chillicothe, Missouri. After law enforcement conduct a haphazard investigation, the sheriff’s office puts the case in the hands of a Kansas City private eye with his own agenda. In a close-knit town still reeling from the aftereffects of the farming crisis, friends and neighbors abruptly fracture into opposing camps. Mark Woodworth, a Robertson family neighbor, eventually receives four life sentences for a crime that a growing group of local supporters believe he didn’t commit.

In a surprising, dramatic narrative that spans decades, Mark’s family turns to Robert Ramsey, an attorney willing to take on a corrupt political machine suppressing the truth. But the community’s way of life is irrevocably damaged by the parallel tragedies of the farming crisis and Cathy’s unsolved murder, in a gripping story about the fault-lines of a fracturing America that continue to cut across the farm belt today.


An arresting work of true crime. . . Cooper’s suspenseful narrative nimbly interweaves procedural beats and a vivid portrait of rural America in crisis.

Publishers Weekly

A “gripping book” and “potent account of the crime and its aftermath.”

Wall Street Journal

Like all first-rate True Crime stories, The Shooter at Midnight not only takes the reader into the fascinating human story of the crime itself, with its wonderfully stubborn cast of heroes and villains refusing to conform to type, but also opens up the wider context in which the crime occurs – in this case the ruin and strife spread across rural America by the farming crisis of the 1980s. The result is a gripping, deeply informed book in which political folly, explosive violence and an agonizing injustice play out with the intensity – and the surprising redemptiveness – of ancient tragedy.

 James Lasdun, author of “Victory” and “It’s Beginning to Hurt”

In unspooling the story of a murder in the American heartland, Sean Patrick Cooper finds much more than he bargained for. This is a book about a terrible crime, but it’s also about economic crises in the farming community, small-town injustice, and the warping effects of grief within a family. A probing, compelling, surprising read.

Rachel Monroe, author of “Savage Appetites: True Stories of Women, Crime, and Obsession”

Though it begins with an account of a murder, The Shooter at Midnight is much more than true-crime. With a detective’s eye for detail and a journalist’s passion for truth, Cooper unravels a miscarriage of justice, showing how an actual conspiracy spread from humble farmhouses to fancy courtrooms in 1980s Missouri. This is stunning and essential storytelling.

Jason Fagone, bestselling author of “The Woman Who Smashed Codes”

Riveting from the offset, The Shooter at Midnight is an expertly woven story of a crime that tore a small-town asunder and its devastating fallout in an already fractured community.  With an extraordinary eye for detail, Cooper navigates the many legal complexities of the case with ease and empathy, never losing sight of the very human tragedy that lies at its core. 

Susan Jonusas, author of “Hell’s Half-Acre


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For publicity information related to The Shooter at Midnight, contact Julia Rickard