SHAKEDOWN: My New Novel Is Based On Actual Soviet Threat To Flood Our Country


During the Cold War, the Soviet Union plotted to destroy our major East coast cities by launching a “mega tsunami” – a plan thankfully abandoned.

This actual Soviet threat forms the backbone of our plot in Shakedown, my new novel written with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, that was released this week.

Shakedown is not politically partisan, as Kirkus Review stated in its review:

“This is, at its best, an action thriller, with a full share of bang-up scenes… An entertaining, if coldhearted, international thriller.” 

Publisher’s Weekly added: “Plenty of action and solid prose, along with plenty of intriguing little-known historical and technical facts.” 

I first learned about the “mega tsunami” plot from Sergei Tretyakov, the highest ranking defector under President Putin, whose life story is told in my non-fiction book, COMRADE J:  The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After The Cold War.

Tretyakov’s revelations were confirmed in detail last year by  Russian journalist, Yekaterina Sinelschikova, in a news article entitled: “The Soviet Union Planned to Wipe Out The United States With a Huge Tsunami.”  Writing in Russia Beyond, she noted:

The deadly project, which bore more than a passing resemblance to the movie The Day After Tomorrow, was not actually a Russian idea. The first attempts to cause a tsunami were carried out by the Americans themselves. Their top-secret operation Project Seal was essentially identical in purpose: to wipe the enemy off the face of the earth with a superpowerful wave.

Interweaving facts with fiction is a trait of the five novels that Speaker Gingrich and I’ve co-written. One of the characters in Shakedown is a homeless Vietnam Veteran with a serious mental illness who cannot access mental health services. This technique enables us to reach readers who may not be aware of how broken our mental health system is and to educate them.

Here’s a podcast about Shakedown. I’ve also posted the first chapter that I hope you will find of interest – a diversion during these troubling times.

Stay well, stay safe and thank you for your support!


When Nightmares Become Reality — America’s Enemies Really Do Wish Us Harm

Imagine the Russians were plotting to cause a tsunami by detonating a nuclear bomb, underwater, off America’s eastern coastline. Then imagine the Russians had studies showing the explosion would flood the east coast from Charleston, South Carolina to Boston, drowning Washington, DC in the process.

It sounds like an absurd, yet wildly entertaining plot to some Hollywood blockbuster or page-turning thriller — made up out of thin air, of course. But all of it is true.

As it turns out, in the 1960s, the Soviet Union seriously thought about attacking the American homeland in this exact manner.

This Soviet plot was one of the inspirations for my new novel, Shakedown, which I wrote with Pete Earley. The book, which was released this week, focuses on Mayberry and Garrett — one a former FBI agent, the other an ex-Navy SEAL —who are caught in the middle of a deadly crisis and must race to thwart a cataclysmic nuclear attack on American soil.

On this week’s episode of my podcast Newt’s World, I discuss Shakedown and the geopolitical situation — both historical and current — on which the book is based.


By Newt Gingrich and Pete Earley, published by Harper Collins

Chapter One

The old man bent down. Tried, but couldn’t slip the envelope under his neighbor’s door. Checked the empty hallway. Turned and began walking toward the floor’s elevator while pulling a pistol from under his jacket. Pressed the call button and took a deep breath to calm his nerves. Ding. He tightened his index finger on the handgun’s trigger, anticipating the opening doors. Sucked in another calming breath. No one was inside. Tucked his handgun between his belt and water- melon belly. Stepped inside.

The building’s lobby was empty. The security guard had gone home at 10:00 p.m. The condo board didn’t believe it necessary to have him stay longer. Their Rosslyn, Virginia, neighborhood was relatively crime-free. The man walked to a wall of mailboxes directly across from the elevator. Ran a finger along the tenants’ mailboxes, stopping at the second box on the third column. His neighbor’s. He inserted the envelope into it. From his jacket he drew a second envelope, which he dropped in the outgoing mail.

Behind him, the sound of laughter. A couple entering the building through its double glass doors. The man at the mailboxes noticed that the woman was younger. Giggling, holding her male companion’s arm. Her loud chatter and wobbly walk suggested she was drunk. A Saturday-night date, perhaps a one-night stand. The condo building was directly across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital, an inexpensive Uber ride from popular Georgetown pick up bars.

The approaching couple appeared harmless, still. The man returned to the elevator and pushed the call button, hoping to board and depart before they reached him. The couple quickened their pace. The old man reached inside his jacket, resting his hand on his pistol. He noticed that she was wearing a gray wool stocking cap and scarf. He wore a red Washington Nationals baseball cap, and the collar of his dark blue coat was turned up. Difficult to see faces.

The elevator doors opened.

The woman straightened, lunged forward, grabbed the old man’s left arm. At the same moment her male accomplice slipped in front of him. A blade before the old man could draw his handgun. Directly into his heart. One thrust. One twist. No time to cry out. Who would hear? The woman steadied him. Pushed the man’s body forward. He hit the elevator floor hard, face-first. Its doors shut.

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.