Review: Water Rate Challenge by Raphael Harlan

Today’s review is a little indie book, by Raphael Harlan, a mystery fiction based in reality. It’s a different kind of book, and worth checking out! A quick read! As always, the book image links to the amazon page! 🙂




In a Flint suburb of Grand Blanc, Michigan, Michelle used to teach at an elementary school for a few years before she suffered three massive injuries in a car accident. Michelle had broken ribs, knees, and back.
The accident left her unable to teach, so she dug deeper in financial trouble. Michelle and her husband Sean used nearly $100,000 worth of credit to pay for her surgery and medical costs. Michelle had broken ribs, knees, and back.

With Sean working in the nuclear plant industry, the couple attempted to pay off their debts by living their lives frugally, reusing water for washing laundry and bathing, reusing bags, and using cash and debit cards in place of credit. After 15 years, the couple was closer to completely wiping out their debt worth $190,000. Then, a turning mishap in the sewer changed not only their journey, but their water costs.

Join Michelle and Sean in their adventure full of a mixture of mysteries, suspense, and courage.


Grade: B-

An interesting premise, debt and living with debt, is so common for people of the 20-30-40 generations. This novel is a mix of mystery and reality.  The rising water bill, which gets up into the 80,000 for people, is definitely the part of the story that lends itself to fiction, because we know that no water bill could ever be that high in a month. But if you can suspend belif and place yourself in that senerio, this is quite a good book.

In this story, the main characters, a couple and their roommate, have to brainstorm ideas in order help bring in extra income to continue paying off their other debt and the rising water bill.

As the bill rises, the community, and the main characters are getting more and more upset at the insane bills that keep coming in the mail. The town has even called in the FBI to try and figure out who is tampering with the water in order to create such high bills.

My issues with this book are mainly in the dialogue, though I loved the idea, the way the characters speak in this novel doesn’t feel realistic to me. I had family in Michigan, where this novel is set, and spent time of up there, and the issues with the dialogue are more from the lack of realism in the interactions.  I think is something that most likely will be corrected, but don’t let this deter you from reading this story.

This short novel has an interesting idea, but will ask you to suspend disbelief quite a bit in order to really get into the story. The author, who has written a few other books, knows the technical craft of writing, and is quite good at it. This is a book about hope, about overcoming obstacles, and about banning together when you feel as though you may fall apart. The characters go through hard times in this book, but they always work together and support each other. This is a quick read with a good point behind it.

Give it a try!  🙂 Check out his author page at

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