By EW Staff
January 17, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

THE KING OF TORTS John Grisham (Doubleday, $27.95, on sale Feb. 4) As big a February fixture as the groundhog, the king of legal thrillers puts one out the same time every year, and this one concerns a public defender assigned to a random street killing that turns out to be more than a random street killing.

RANDOM FAMILY Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (Scribner, $25, on sale Feb. 4) LeBlanc clocked more than 10 years tracking two Bronx girls for a nonfiction effort encompassing ”Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx.”

THE DANTE CLUB Matthew Pearl (Random House, $24.95, on sale Feb. 4) Pearl, a 27-year-old Dante scholar and Yale Law graduate, adds ”novelist” to his resume with a historical puzzler involving murders inspired by The Inferno.