I just finished American Nightmare, and I found that I enjoyed it far more than either the signal or the writer. Most of you will disagree, but I found that the weakest aspect of Alan Wake is the combat. I found it so repetitive that I contemplated putting the game down. The thing that kept me going was the incredible story and smart presentation. It was great to discover that they dumbed down the combat, added a greater variety of weapons, and made it so that I didn't have to run past enemies because of lack of ammo. It's not that combat is particularly challenging; just a chore which has to be done before getting more of the compelling story. The faster I could blast through the enemies the better.
I think that the narrative trick was extremely clever. If they repeated it a fourth time it would have been overboard, but they avoid any annoyance by strategically placing you closer to your objective and having the people you meet speed things up by gathering puzzle elements for you. And after seeing the satellite the second time, I knew I had to get a copy of "Club Foot" by Kasabian.