By his own admission, Louis Agnello Jr. has led a checkered career. Once known as the Stripper King of New York, he later represented male and female strippers, appeared on soap operas, tangled with a New York district attorney, became embroiled in a lawsuit against the Subway corporation over a franchise agreement, and was once ambushed and shot.
Agnello, whose penname is Cousin Vinny, thinks he’s got it right now. He is currently on a book tour — and a mission —t o share the story of his first novel, “The Devil’s Glove,” which was released by Tate Publishing, a Christian publishing company.
Agnello will read from “The Devil’s Glove” and sign autographs at the Oakbrook Center Barnes and Noble on Saturday, Aug. 9. In the book, Satan exacts revenge for being cast out of heaven by cursing a baseball glove. The glove’s victims are a depressed minor league baseball player and an 11-year-old boy who dreams of having a big career.
Although this is Agnello’s first novel, he already has four unproduced screenplays to his credit, and he earned a journalism degree from Western Connecticut State University in 1992.
But Agnello insists that he is not the source of this story.
“In 1991, I was anything but wholesome,” he admitted. “I’m dancing for soap actresses, I’m dancing for the Rockefellers, I’m doing all the celebrity parties. I’ve always been an athlete, I was pin sober, I don’t drink, I don’t get high. I did have one great vice. I was one of the world’s great womanizers.”
It was during one of these liaisons that Agnello had the experience that led to his novel. “I was just about to doze off,” he said. “This white-haired guy entered my room and he said to me, ‘Don’t you think it’s time for you to do your job? I want to show you something. It’s a message to the world and you’re going to deliver it.’ Then, he played this movie. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I spent the next five hours jotting down every single detail of this Chicago White Sox ghost story.”
Agnello spent the next two years writing 80 percent of “The Devil’s Glove,” which was then called “The Magic Glove.”
As his stripping career slowed down, Agnello had to find alternate ways to earn a living. He put the book aside.
He began writing the book again after that shooting incident because his mother convinced him he had survived because he didn’t deliver his “message.”
“It is one of the great anti-suicide books of all time,” Agnello declared. “It is going to take all the troubled souls off the ledge and put them back on solid ground. It explores the addiction that we have to be great in order to be loved.”
Cousin Vinny signs ‘The Devil’s Glove’
1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9
Barnes & Noble, 297 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook