Arts & Culture

Local Former FBI Agent, James Ring, Publishes Terror Plot Novel, “Necessary Assets”

Necessary Assets is a newly published novel that hits home by James Ring, former FBI agent and longtime resident of Boston’s North End.

Fresh off the press (and Kindle), the fictional terror plot centers on an unusual alliance between a modernized Sicilian Mafia and retired FBI agent character, Mark Patrick. The reader travels with the action to Naples, Palermo, Tunis, Sana’a in Yemen and eventually to Manhattan and Boston.

Despite the far-flung locales, “it’s really about neighborhood people and how residents watch out for each other. We are all necessary assets,” says Jim Ring in a phone interview. While caveating the storyline as purely 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. “Let the conversation begin,” says Ring, who sees the book as a discussion piece for the post-9/11 world and its local impacts.

In Necessary Assets, the Mafia make an effort to prevent an al-Qaeda terrorist attack on US soil by anonymously giving information to the FBI through agent Patrick. Desperate to convince their fundamentalist donors to return to the fold, al-Qaeda has authorized  “The Engineer” to operate off the AQ grid leading two cells of radicalized US citizens to attack the  nation’s economic hub, Manhattan, and its freedom hub, Boston. They are willing to unsheathe an evil not yet dared, transforming both cities into dead zones where no one can commute to work.

In his blog at, the author continues the discussion of current events and terror plots. Most recently, he includes a wake-up call right outside our door from Yemenese LNG tankers in Boston Harbor. Just last week, US intelligence “chatter” about a terror threat from Yemen resulted in the closing of worldwide diplomatic offices. Yet, a direct path to Boston’s downtown and neighborhoods arrives regularly from the established terror haven.

I have seen nothing to indicate the US is even considering to refuse to allow the LNG tankers that presently load in Yemen, not under US supervision, and depart Yemen sailing directly to Boston Harbor. In light of what we know today, does this make any sense? With natural gas cheap and in abundance in the US, why do we even allow this LNG tanker, from one of the world’s most dangerous places, into our country? Why does the US Coast Guard and our present administration allow this potential bomb to transit through one of our most historic and populated cities? You can bet al-Qaeda is aware of this potential threat.

Local readers will enjoy the hometown color in the book including that from Boston’s North End.

Retired FBI special agent Mark Patrick made a stop at the greengrocer’s store on North Street to pick up some fresh figs, baby arugala, herbs, and fava beans for the dinner he planned to cook that night for himself and his wife, Liz Brennick. 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.

Hailing to the author’s local and national experience, the book gets rave reviews from Boston’s Mayor Menino as well as former FBI officials.

“Jim Ring’s Necessary Assets is a novel that highlights – as in real life – the fight against terrorism and crime will always need the help of local citizens. It’s a book worth reading.”  Thomas M. Menino, Mayor of the City of Boston

“Jim Ring’s Necessary Assets is a wake-up call to the possibilities in the future…showcasing some very realistic vulnerabilities that remain unaddressed in the country.” Alan Ringgold, Former Deputy Assistant Director, International Relations Branch, FBIHQ

Visit for more information on Necessary Assets, available on To purchase a signed and dedicated copy, contact Omni Publications with your detailed request (

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