Former stripper to visit Muskegon to promote novel that contains ‘morality lessons’

By Tony Wittkowski | Reporter | MLive – Muskegon Chronicle

MUSKEGON, MI — It took more than 20 years, but Louis Agnello finished his novel.

Agnello, who is known as Cousin Vinny, will be at the Barnes & Noble located on 5275 S. Harvey St. on Aug. 22 from 5-8 p.m. to sign copies of “The Devil’s Glove” and to discuss his own personal story.

His novel is about a minor league baseball player who seeks help from the Devil to play in the majors. The idea came to him in a dream.

The book cover of "The Devil's Glove."

The book cover of “The Devil’s Glove.”

The book has garnered national attention and led to a book-signing tour with stops at multiple U.S. cities.

He began working on his novel in 1991 and put it aside two years later with approximately 80 percent completed. Twenty years later, Agnello revisited his work and not only finished the last portion, but retooled his previous progress.

“The first 80 percent was completely rewritten,” Agnello said. “All the life experiences I had come across in my very colorful life added some wisdom. When I did the last 20 percent, it was so much better I had to rewrite the rest.”

The life experiences Agnello referred to were in connection to his time in New York. In his heyday, Agnello was called the “Stripper King of New York.” His 13 years of stripping led to the stripper-gate scandal, which eventually put him on the path back to his manuscript.

In 2009, while escorting some strippers to a bachelor party, Agnello was shot twice – once in the thigh and another in the chest. Luckily, one of the .32 caliber slugs was stopped by a stack of credit cards that were in his breast pocket.

The shot that nearly ended his life jumpstarted his renewed effort toward finishing his writing.

His novel, which was originally called “The Magic Glove,” became popular enough to catch the attention of Tate Publishing, a Christian-based publisher. From there it went through changes that included the title.

The entire process of getting to know his characters has provided Agnello the chance to take a look in the mirror.

“I had to go through the wash, rinse and spin cycle to wake up and realize that there are more important things than having a good time,” Agnello said. “I was a hedonist all my life.”

The man once known as the “Stripper King of New York” has been touring the country, offering advice and letting his readers know the message of his book.

He also is scheduled for a book-signing event 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23 in Grand Rapids. The event is set for Barnes & Noble, 3195 28th St. SE in Grand Rapids.

Tony Wittkowski is a staff reporter at MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at and follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Aug. 21, 2014)