A Cold Day for Murder, Dana Stabenow (what a great name for a mystery murder novelist).
Kate Shugak, a Seen-Too-Much-and-Said-Goodbye detective is dragged back out of her solitude by a double missing person case: a wet behind the ears park ranger (with a US Congressman father), and then the detective who went looking for him. This is a 3/5 book all the way through. I don’t know if it’s the author’s first novel or not, but nothing about it really clicked.
Unlike the last tough-as-nails heroine named Kate reviewed on this blog, Shugak’s list of characteristics (tough, worked her way up by her bootstraps, frontier living, scares everyone, including the men she sleeps with) never really comes to life in a way that makes me think her badassery would be much better appreciated, like Karrin Murphy’s, if she were a secondary rather than a main character. Or, at the very least, other characters would stop fangirling/admiring her, because that’s always a bad sign.
As far as earning the three stars, this was an interesting mystery, with a few amusing false leads (the best red herring, the person spotted secretly dumping a heavy object off the side of a cliff on the night of the disappearance…was getting rid of an illegal moose corpse. Heh.), and there is a small but satisfactorily gruesome reveal that could have been milked for more drama than it was. (The second corpse is hanging up in the culprit’s meat locker when Kate comes by to ask questions.)
–Not great, but good enough to make me check out the sequel to see if that one’s any better.

Heir to the Empire, Thrawn Trilogy book 1, Timothy Zahn.
Everyone says that the Thrawn Trilogy is one of the best books in the Star Wars EU. It’s got the best antagonist ever seen in the SW-EU, the best plot, the most dangerous threat to the heroes, etc…
Here’s the problem: this book isn’t very good. At all.
I could bullet-point out all my complaints but, well…
It just isn’t.
Oh well.