Arts & Culture

Retired FBI Agent and Local Author James Ring Talks “Necessary Assets” at North End Library

Author James Ring speaking at the North End Library

In front of a neighborhood audience, author and retired FBI agent James Ring described the “inspired” fiction of his novel, Necessary Assets, at a Saturday afternoon book reading hosted by the Friends group at the North End Branch Library.

A longtime North End resident, Ring incorporated many neighborhood features into the book despite the broader subject matter involving global terrorism. From the “Strada Cafe” to “Franklin Wharf,” locals will recognize and appreciate the disguised hometown color (and maybe even some personalities).

Necessary Assets describes an Al Qaeda terror plot that brings forth an unusual alliance between a modernized Sicilian Mafia and retired FBI agent character, Mark Patrick, who lives in the North End. The reader travels with the action to Naples, Palermo, Tunis, Sana’a in Yemen and eventually to Manhattan and Boston.

Many at the book reading wanted to know how much was “real” versus “fiction” especially given Ring’s FBI experience in dealing with the Mafia and knowledge of tactics used by terrorism groups. While caveating the storyline as fictional and humbly describing his past professional experience, it is exactly that deep knowledge that brings an absorbing reality to the subject matter of the book.

The author read passages from the book at the event, including this one about living in the North End that received a chuckle from the local attendees at the library.

On warm summer evenings years ago, Patrick used to sit on the stoop with some of the older neighborhood women and the talk would always turn to food and cooking. He eventually figured out that some of the older women in the neighborhood would pass on to him a recipe that did not include one or two key ingredients. They openly admitted they never gave all the recipe ingredients to their own daughters-in-law. That way they could be assured their son would show up for Sunday dinner to eat “the way mama cooks it.” Despite working for the FBI and generational gaps, these women were his friends and he theirs.

Visit for more information on Necessary Assets, including a blog and upcoming appearances by the author. On the blog, Ring talks about the US economy and how important it is to our national security.  He also recently discussed a wake-up call right outside our door from Yemenese LNG tankers in Boston Harbor. He also gave every indication that a sequel may be in the works!

Necessary Assets is available to take out with your library card at the North End Branch Library, 25 Parmenter Street. It is also available on To purchase a signed and dedicated copy, contact Omni Publications with your detailed request at

Below are some additional photos from the book discussion at the North End Library: