I'm surprised no one has mentioned this, but Laurell K. Hamilton wrote Nightshade
back in 1992, which was just reprinted in 2010. I realize that it's not the best book (all through out the book I found that Worf felt like a horse pulling at the reigns and he was not being reigned in properly) in the Trek franchise, but Laurell K. Hamilton is one of the top authors in Science Fantasy right now with her vampire novels.
But, two novels that I think you could easily read and get a good sense of the characters and the way the stories are suppose to work, where both written by Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch, are The Escape
(1995) and By The Book
(2001). I first read both books when, with Voyager I had only seen one or two episodes, and with Enterprise, zero episodes, and I was able to go in and come away feeling as though I had read a complete story and there were no plot threads let dangling, and the characters were well defined (even though in both cases both books were the inaugral books of their respective series, following the pilot novelizations).