For Louis Agnello Jr., who writes under the name Cousin Vinny, it all started with a vision.
As he describes it, Agnello was visited in a dream by a heavenly messenger who played a movie for him. Agnello crafted that movie into his debut novel, “The Devil’s Glove,” a story about the supernatural war for the souls of two baseball players who seem willing to do anything to be winners. Agnello took up the work, he explained in a phone interview, because his visitor emphasized its importance.
“He said it was a vital message to the world.”
Agnello — a former stripper and actor with a colorful past — has, he’s been told, developed a unique writing style. “A couple critics have told me that I don’t write like anybody. I have my own genre.”
His personal style, he says, is far different from that of many other authors because he isn’t interested in lengthy descriptive passages in which he might “paint the details.” If you’re looking for that sort of prose, “you’re looking at the wrong author,” he says. “That’s not my style. And I don’t want it to be my style … That’s the style that most authors are schooled in, and it’s the absolute worst style.”
Agnello wants to keep the action revved up.
“I don’t want to drive you at 10 miles per hour. I want to put you on the superhighway,” he says.
He also wants to help encourage people, especially kids in trouble. He believes the book, with its story of a young man caught in a battle between good and evil and his own good nature and selfish desires, has much to say to young people. “That book has more messages than any novel out there, and it’s done subtly … It might as well be the Bible for troubled kids,” he says. He believes “The Devil’s Glove” may well save lives. “The book’s the greatest anti-suicide book of all time,” he argues.
Agnello argues that the book’s ending is unimpeachable. “If the ending of that book isn’t the most touching ending in the whole world, I’ll give up my writing career.”
•Who: Cousin Vinny
•When: 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday
•Where: Barnes & Noble, 333 Collins Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids