I'm writing a short story following the first person perspective of the MC, who is a young, male writer of horror stories. He goes on a cruise with his girlfriend and their friends, and, unsurprisingly, the MC is a murderer, who proceeds to kill off everyone (5~6 total) on the boat one by one (as well as cannibalizing them), leaving his girlfriend for last, when he confronts her about having been the murderer and explains his motivation, which is this:
"Truth be told, the primary inspiration of my writing came from my dreams--my nightmares, more specifically, and to my despair, I had, of late lost my fear of just about anything...I found out that I can make the nightmares come back, if I did something just as hideous when awake."
The problem is this:
I fear that it will soon become very obvious who the killer is, and without any deliberate action in my part to show that. I fear that my readers would lose interest if they figured out the fairly predictable "plot twist", which would then trivialize the real focus of the story, which is the MC's motivation behind the murders. (It's supposed to be interesting because my audience may consist a good proportion of amateur horror-writers, and this is meant to be reflective.)
Some solutions I considered:
1: Hide the murderer's identity really well:
Study classic murder mysteries, and employ tropes and techniques from these to set up misdirection for the reader, not the least of which being the fact that most classic murder mystery's murderer is someone other than the MC.
2: Hide the murderer's identity, but using narration techniques:
Basically the same as 1, but focus instead on making the MC seem innocent via his narration of what's happening--describe him in states of confusion, make him explicate his speculations on the possible causes of the victims' disappearances. This could be tricky because I don't want to undermine the psychopathic personality of the MC, but I shouldn't show that too explicitly either.
3: Obscure the cause of the deaths:
Make all the corpses disappear no matter how well protected, and misdirect the readers into thinking that some sort of supernatural evil is at work, where as in reality, it's because the MC ate the corpses and threw the left over into the sea.
4: Accept that the readers will figure out who is the murderer, but retain their interest:
Most nuanced (IMO) option, but consequently also the most apparently difficult. What could retain readers' interest after they figure out the murderer's identity? Could they be curious about the motivation of the MC? or would they simply dismiss him as a psychopath and sweep that question under the rug? Could they have any desire to see whether the other characters (namely MC's girlfriend) will survive the final confrontation? or would the sociopathic presentation of her make her appear unlikable? What about other seemingly inexplicable things being gradually revealed, such as the absolute bloody mess left where the victims were is (slowly and dramatically revealed to be) due to the MC's cannibal practices?