Neil Thorpe is a former agent with the CIA.
Out of high school and almost certainly some military service, Thorpe was invited to join the Agency. The work sounded exciting and interesting and he jumped at it. For nearly a decade he worked both at Langley and out in the field but he found that the work he was doing for them did not give him the satisfaction that he thought it would. After a while, he decided to try something else.
Enrolling into college proved a dramatic change as he was ten years older than the students in his class which made him an outsider, unable to relate. Still, he had his eyes set on his new career goal which was to become an architect. That line of work had always interested him and now, wanting something firm and permanent, he chose it. After graduation, he got a job for a respected architect in New York and proved worthy enough after a couple of years that the man, who was passing fifty and thinking of retiring, offered Thorpe a junior partnership.
As the series opens, Thorpe is in his early 40s and has a prosperous practice going. He is well liked and respected in his profession which sees him traveling a lot. He has not close ties to anyone, certainly no family nor any glimmer of one in sight. Until the first part of the adventure in the first book occurs, it never dawned on Thorpe that there was a bit of discontent in his otherwise good life.
He was bored. If he had not been, he would not have given a young woman a ride from an airport and his life would not have changed like it did.