Religion

Former male stripper writes book about temptation, baseball

While Louis Agnello Jr. was pleased to hear someone say he enjoyed reading his book "The Devil's Glove," the author was a bit disturbed when the person described it as a great baseball story.

"The book is about so much more than that," he said. "The person read the surface but did not comprehend the depth."

Agnello's book is about the evils of temptation. He said the story came to him in a vision and he believes the message to write what he saw came from God. He said the book is a morality lesson but is not preachy.

Agnello, who writes under the pen name "Cousin Vinny," is a former male stripper. For several years, he served as what he calls the "Stripper King of New York," providing strippers to private parties. He also did some acting, appearing in small parts on soap operas such as "Guiding Light" and "Ryan's Hope."

He is scheduled to appear in Columbus June 21 at a book signing from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The Book House on Armour Road. It will be stop No. 33 for Agnello since his tour began in March.

The book is about a young athlete whose dream is to play major league baseball, but he is not having much success. So he asks for an angel to help him.

"But he gets the wrong type of angel," Agnello said.

The player makes a pact with the devil then decides the success he achieves does not bring him the happiness he expected. When he breaks the deal, he ends up in what Agnello described as a "living hell." He is pressured into working with a young boy leading him to the dark side. Good and evil fight for the boy's soul.

"The questions presented in the book are what could we be coerced into doing to save our own skin and what would we be willing to do to have our dreams come true," he said. "It explores the dark side of human nature. It also embraces our most valiant qualities and makes you realize how close we all are to God."

Agnello said the book is relevant to what is happening in sports today.

"All those baseball players cheating to get what they want. It is terrible," he said. "They are role models for children."

He said the book carries the same theme as the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.

"We should be happy with what we have and not be dwelling on what could have been or might be."

Agnello, 55, is a native of Flushing, N.Y., but lives in Sun City Center, Fla. He has a degree in English from Western Connecticut State University.

Agnello began writing the book in 1991 but left the work to deal with business interests including a Subway restaurant. He did not continue working on it until 20 years later.

"A promise is a promise, so I had to finish it," he said. "I had about 80 percent done, but, I had experienced so much in my life over that period from when I started, that I found myself rewriting most of it."

He said there is a strong anti-suicide message in the book.

"No matter how dark it seems, there is a ray of light," he said. "I want people to come off the ledge and feel good about themselves. If this book saves just one troubled person from bringing their life to a premature end, then I have done my job."

The book, originally titled "The Magic Glove," is published by Tate Publishing. It is available online at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Agnello said the book has gotten a great response and he is thinking about a sequel.

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